PM Olmert Meets with UN Secy.-Gen. Ban Ki-Moon
Photo by GPO 

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert this morning, met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon ahead of the latter’s visit to Sderot and the Gaza Strip.

UN Secy.-Gen. Ki-Moon told Prime Minister Olmert that he appreciates Israel’s decision to hold its fire in the Gaza Strip.  The two men discussed ways to maintain the stability of the ceasefire, and the UN’s and several countries’ plan to coordinate humanitarian aid efforts for the civilian population of the Gaza Strip and – in the second stage –to contribute toward its reconstruction.

Prime Minister Olmert reiterated his position that the reconstruction efforts must be coordinated by the UN, along with the international organizations, and with the active cooperation of Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and the pragmatic countries.  He added that Hamas must not be allowed to draw any legitimacy whatsoever from the reconstruction process since it is responsible for the devastation in the Gaza Strip.

Prime Minister Olmert said that the humanitarian assistance to, and the reconstruction of, the Gaza Strip were insufficient to resolve existing problem in the Strip, and added that only the continuation of the diplomatic processes in the region and a stable peace, now, can resolve the region’s problems.

In response to Saudi Arabian King Abdullah’s remarks yesterday about the continued relevance of the Arab peace initiative vis-à-vis the peace processes in the region, Prime Minister Olmert said that Israel has been, and still is, prepared to accept the Arab initiative as a framework for the continued conduct of peace negotiations, first and foremost with the Palestinian Authority and with other Arab states as well.