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Sharon's statement at Powell press conference

Prime Minister Ariel Sharons State at the Press Conference with Secretary of State Powell.

First, I would like to greet my friend, Secretary of State Colin Powell, with the words Welcome to Jerusalem. You certainly know you do visit here quite often that you are among friends. I would also like to express our appreciation for your many efforts, your dedication and your determination in furthering the political process.

I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome President George Bushs Special Envoy, Ambassador Wolf, Ambassador Satterfield, and to thank the United States Ambassador in Israel, Dan Kurtzer, for his efforts and contribution to promoting the process.

The latest developments in our region, which led to the Aqaba Summit, offers us many prospects, as well as quite a few risks. We have been presented with opportunities which we all hope will allow us to achieve quiet, and eventually, G-d willing, peace. I defined it this week as labor pains, the labor pains of the process. The State of Israel will make every effort, exhaust every possibility and will not miss any opportunity to try and arrive at a political process which will lead to a political settlement.

The State of Israel has undertaken the steps detailed in the Road Map in conjunction with the 14 points the Government of Israel decided upon, and in this framework, we have taken on other commitments. These are not easy things, they are even more difficult following nearly 3 years of the war of terror waged against us. However, these are commitments we have taken on in order to try and reach a political process, and we have implemented them.

However, we must also remember: as long as terror continues, as long as violence continues, as long as the terrible incitement rages, there will be no progress. There is no peace with terror.

Our Palestinian neighbors and their leaders must realize that the continuation of terror means the absence of a political progress. Only a genuine war against terror against its infrastructure, those who fund and initiate it and its dispatchers will lead to progress in an honest and genuine process.

Mr. Secretary, you are almost part of the family. Our talks are always good and friendly. I told you during our meeting, and I will tell you again here I will make every effort to achieve security and peace for the good of the people of Israel, and for the good of the people of the entire region. This is the commitment I have taken on myself, and I will do it.

Thank you.

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