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PM Olmert: Israel is Not Rushing Into a Ceasefire

PM Olmert's Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting

Following are Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting today:

"I will brief ministers on US Secretary of State Dr. Condoleeza Rice's visit. This is her second visit in recent days and naturally, issues related to the war effort in the north were at the center of our talks.

I think that it must be clear that Israel is not rushing into a ceasefire before we reach a situation in which we can say that we have achieved the main goals that we set for ourselves, and this also requires the maturation of the diplomatic process and reaching a detailed agreement regarding the stationing of forces that will secure the areas from which Israel has been endangered during this period.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Amir Peretz will also brief us on their meetings with US Secy. of State Dr. Rice.

Similarly, we will be briefed by security officials including on the military moves and Israel's continued military accomplishments in recent days. Afterwards, Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson will submit for approval the agreement that has been signed with employers and the Histadrut labor federation regarding the payment of salaries and the recognition of indirect damages. We view this agreement as a very important milestone in the Government's ability to respond appropriately to the special needs of the home front population and I thank the Finance Minister for the special effort he invested in this process.

Afterwards, we will receive detailed briefings on the efforts, problems and needs of the populations in the areas under rocket attack and who are in shelters or protected areas.

The Government's effort in the coming period must be to provide the best and most considerate responses to the population that has been under relentless rocket attack against their homes and places of work for 18 days, and to make the assessments that will enable us to continue providing the best and most certain responses until this military campaign finishes."


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