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Blair Makes Statement On Israeli Defence Forces


PM statement on Israeli Defence Forces

Prime Minister Tony Blair has welcomed Prime Minister Sharon's announcement that Israel intends to withdraw the Israeli Defence Forces.

Read the statement in full below.

"I welcome Prime Minister Sharon's announcement that Israel intends to withdraw the Israeli Defence Forces from the Gaza Strip and dismantle all Israeli settlements there as well as some in the West Bank.

The international community, led by the Quartet, must now work together to seize this opportunity to inject new life into the Peace Process in accordance with the Roadmap. We all want to see a comprehensive peace agreed by the two sides leading to two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. Israeli withdrawal should be an important step toward that objective.

Israel should now coordinate with the Palestinians on the detailed arrangements. The Palestinian Authority must show the political will to make the withdrawal from Gaza a success and to deliver on their Roadmap responsibilities, especially regarding security.

The UK will play a full part in the international effort to build up the Palestinian Authority's capabilities to deliver an effective administration, economic progress and improved security for Palestinians and Israelis.

I shall be discussing this further with the UN Secretary-General in New York on 15 April and with President Bush in Washington on 16 April, and in due course with leaders from the region."

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