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Colin L. Powell and Israeli FM - Joint Statement

Joint Statement

Secretary Colin L. Powell and Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom Foreign Ministry Jerusalem June 20, 2003

FOREIGN MINISTER SHALOM: I am happy to once again welcome Secretary of State Powell here in Jerusalem. We will both participate in the WEF summit in Jordan, and we have the opportunity to continue the dialogue with our counterparts there. This has been my third meeting with the Secretary of State in the last month. As always, our conversation was friendly and constructive in the tradition of the close cooperation and coordination between our two governments. Let me stress Israel's commitment to work with our Palestinian neighbors and American friends in a constant effort to pursue the vision of peace in our region. However, we cannot ignore the threat of terrorism that continues to target Israeli citizens. Since the Aqaba Summit -- and I want to emphasize since the Aqaba Summit -- 29 Israelis were murdered including children, women and elderly. On Tuesday, Noam Leibowitz a seven-year old child lost her life in a terrorist attack. Yesterday, Avener Mordechai sixty-years old was slain in a suicide bombing. Mr. Secretary, I want to thank you for your condolences. But I want you to know that the murderers of both a small child and elderly man this week underscore again that these are not simply statistics, but a horrifying human tragedy. This is not the way to achieve real peace. This reality only strengthens my conviction that the war on terrorism must continue everywhere using all means at our disposal. This is a fundamental condition for any future progress. We must remember that the terrorists threaten not only Israel, but also Abu Mazen's government, and the very peace process we are trying to pursue together with the United States.

Having met this week with Ambassador Wolf, you have our promise Mr. Secretary that Israel will do all it can to assist him in full in filling his important mission to ensure that the Palestinians implement in security commitment and end the incitements. His success is our success. We are willing to get progress in the peace process we want them to implement what they are committed in the roadmap. It means to dismantle the infrastructure of terror. I think it is very important because cease-fire is a ticking bomb. Cease-fire for a long term is not accepted. And I think it is very important for them to understand as well, that so many initiatives were here in the region in the last 35 years, all of them failed, only because they didn't take the strategic decision to put an end to terrorism and violence.

I want to tell you that I have tasked a special team in our Foreign Ministry to monitor the incitement in the Palestinian media and statements by the Palestinians officials. I was happy to hear that Ambassador Wolf adapted my proposal to have both our teams work in close coordination on this issue like in others.

Thank you, and now I will switch to Hebrew for a short time, with your permission.

SECRETARY OF STATE: Thank you very much, Mr. Minister. It s a great pleasure to be back in Jerusalem and I value the opportunity to have in-depth conversations with you and, as always, they were very candid, direct and to the point.

I was here five weeks ago and a lot has happened in the five weeks since. We had both sides accept the roadmap as a way forward to peace. We had the historic summit at Sharm-el-Sheikh and another one in Aqaba. Sharm-el-Sheikh, we got the Arab nations to agree that there had to be an end to violence and terror and there had to be the end to incitement, the end to funding of any organization that was supporting terrorist activity.

And at Aqaba, we had all sides come together, Palestinians, Israelis, the presence of the American President, and all sides making commitment to use the roadmap as a way forward. On that day, in Aqaba, both sides undertook commitments that were to be discharged in the very near future. The Israeli side has begun to exercise their energy and their efforts to meet those commitments with the dismantling of unauthorized outposts, other actions that Prime Minister Sharon indicated to me, in my last visit, that they would take in order to try to make life better for the Palestinian people and, I appreciate what Israel has done and we spoke about additional things that Israel will be doing in the near future. I took note of the fact that prisoners have been released. And so we have begun to execute on the roadmap.

On the Palestinian side, conversations are taking place with respect to the security arrangements in Gaza. Ambassador John Wolf, who is here as the President s special envoy for this purpose, has played a role in getting the two sides to talk to one another. And, although we do not yet have a final answer as to how we will manage the Gaza turnover of security, the conversations are serious and the issues are being reduced in number and the differences are being narrowed and we had an opportunity to talk to the Foreign Minister about these differences and I look to speaking about these differences with the Prime Minster in just a few moments.

I share the Minister s concern that incitement has to be brought under control and in Ambassador Wolf s conversations with the Palestinians, this has been highlighted and I will highlight it again in my conversation this afternoon with Prime Minster Abbas -- incitement on the radio, incitement on television, incitement in the press, incitement in schools as a result of the kinds of education youngsters are getting. I also am anxious to speak to the Prime Minister this afternoon, Prime Minister Abbas, about efforts that they are making to bring violence under control, to end violence -- not just through the means of having a cease-fire but going beyond that -- end violence and end the capacity of violence -- in the future, the capacity for violence. As Prime Minster Abbas has said, there can only be one-armed force within any government, within any nation it has to be under the control of the government.

So we know what we have to do. We have to end violence and the potential for violence and that remains our goal. As I said to the Minister and will say to the Prime Minister in a few moments, President Bush remains committed to moving forward. He believes a window of opportunity has been created with the roadmap and with the Aqaba and Sharm-el-Sheikh summit and, in the aftermath of our success in Iraq, and we have to take advantage of this moment of opportunity. We regret and extend our condolences to the families of all those who have lost their lives over the last two weeks since Aqaba. But this should not be a cause for us to stop our efforts, it should be a cause for us to reenergize our efforts and to move forward because, what is the alternative? Unless we move forward and find a way for the two sides to assure each other of security, to end the terror and the violence, to make life more attractive for the Palestinian people, to get the economies running again, unless we do that then we will not end this crisis, we will not find a path to peace and President Bush is committed that we must take this opportunity, take this window that has been provided, that has been opened, and keep moving forward and push through, blast through those who would try to stop us, who would try to keep us from our goal of peace through acts of violence and terror.

Thank you very much, Mr. Minister, and I look forward to our next meeting.

[End]

Released on June 20, 2003

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