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Condoleezza Rice Joint Statement With Ariel Sharon

Joint Statement With Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Prior To Their Meeting

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Prime Minister's Office
June 19, 2005

PRIME MINISTER SHARON: (official translation): Good morning. We are pleased to host U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice here in Jerusalem. Dr. Rice is a true friend of Israel's, and we take this opportunity to thank you for your friendship and for your efforts to advance the political process in the region. I also extend through you my warmest greetings to President Bush and thank him for his personal friendship and the steadfast support for Israel by the United States. The State of Israel stands at the threshold of a historic step. The fruits of the disengagement can already be seen, and I am confident that our political, security and economic status will improve even more as a result of the disengagement plan. This step is a very difficult one for Israel, very difficult, but we will carry out the disengagement exactly in accordance with the resolution of the government and the Knesset.

I wish to thank you, Madame Secretary of State, for the unyielding support of the United States for the disengagement plan. I believe that the smooth and successful implementation of the plan in coordination with the Palestinians will help energize the political process under the Road Map. All this on condition that the Palestinians stop the terror, violence, and incitement, dismantle the terror organizations, collect weapons and implement the needed reforms. The United States has an important role in advancement of processes in the Middle East and in facilitating the disengagement plan. I thank the special envoys who have invested considerable time and efforts promoting the processes in the region, particularly General William Ward who coordinates security issues, and the quartet envoy Mr. James Wolfensohn, who coordinates economic issues. I also thank Mr. Elliott Abrams and Mr. David Welch with whom we enjoy close and constructive working relations. Israel is a peace-seeking country. After so many years of terror and bloodshed, the achievement of security, peace and tranquility is not an easy task. We hope that terror will cease, in order that we Israelis and Palestinians with the assistance of the United States, will be able to start progressing toward the peace which we all yearn for.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much. Prime Minister, I am honored to be here in Israel to discuss our focus on Gaza disengagement as a key to enhancing Israeli security, as a key to peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The Prime Minister is a close friend of the United States. He has displayed courage and vision in putting forth this disengagement plan. President Bush and I admire the leadership that the Prime Minister is giving to this nation and his commitment to peace and security in the region. And, Prime Minister, I bring you the President's greetings.

The Israeli people deserve a secure and peaceful future, free from the threat of terror and violence. The United States' commitment to Israel and to its security remains strong. We will support Israel as it implements the disengagement from the Gaza and parts of the West Bank. A successful disengagement will enhance the security of Israel, and it should give a sense of confidence and trust between the Israelis and Palestinians as they look to a better future. When Prime Minister Sharon outlined his vision and plans to President Bush in April of 2004, and again at Crawford earlier this year, we expressed our steadfast support and we stand behind the commitments that we have made to the Prime Minister and to the people of Israel. My visit here today is testament to the strength of our bilateral relationship and to the genuine friendship that exists between our peoples a friendship that is based first and foremost on shared values. I want to thank the Prime Minister once again for having me here. I look forward to our discussions about the disengagement plan, about the plans to make that disengagement peaceful and orderly, and about the degree to which the disengagement plan, as a historic step, can lead to the eventual resolution and the eventual ability to get to a two-state solution. The President has outlined a two-state solution. The Road Map is, of course, the reliable guide to that two-state solution, and we look forward to working with the Prime Minister and with the Israeli people on that historic course.

Thank you, Prime Minister.


Released on June 19, 2005


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