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Ehud Olmert Administration: Remarks at a Joint Press Conference With Saudi King Abdullah

(June 8, 2006)

I thank you, your Majesty, for your kind invitation to meet with me at the royal palace in Jordan and for the warm reception and hospitality you accorded me and my delegation

His Majesty and I held a fruitful discussion on the common issues on our agenda, mainly ways to advance our bilateral relations, create progress in the political process with the Palestinians and other regional issues.

We agreed to continue working together in the future and to remain in close contact, in order to promote our mutual interests. We also agreed to closely cooperate and coordinate the future steps that will be taken, as we have done in the past.

For Israel, transparent relations with Jordan are fundamental, essential and of strategic importance. Israel will do everything possible to strengthen our relations, thereby strengthening both our countries.

I am very encouraged by the cooperation between our countries along our common border in the struggle against global terror and other radical elements plaguing our region. The Kingdom of Jordan plays a crucial role in maintaining the stability and security of our region.  We agreed to enhance cooperation between us personally and between our countries on this issue.

Jordan is a true partner for bringing peace to the region and His Majesty and I also discussed the possible progress on the Palestinian track. I told his majesty that Israel is committed to the Roadmap and will make every effort to advance the bilateral track with the Palestinians. To that end, and in order to achieve the goal of a two state solution that we all strive for, I assured his Majesty that I intend to meet with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in order to encourage the process and exhaust every possibility of progress in accordance with the Roadmap. 

In order to achieve this goal, I truly hope that the Palestinian government will fully implement the demands of the Quartet and the international community therefore making it possible to hold negotiations on the basis of the Roadmap. Political stalemate in the Middle East is bad for Israel; is bad for the Palestinians; and is also bad for Jordan and the region. It is essential to avoid stagnation. Should the Palestinians not meet their obligations, and should no political horizon be apparent, we will have no alternative but to look for other ways in order to move the situation in the Middle East forward. I hope that the Palestinian leadership will rise up to meet this challenge.

His Majesty and I also discussed the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian Authority. I assured his Majesty that Israel will take concrete measures to improve the humanitarian situation of the Palestinian population. Israel commends Jordan's efforts to support this goal and Jordan's assistance to the Palestinian population. I assured his Majesty that I will facilitate any aid from Jordan to the Palestinians.

I also expressed my deep appreciation for Jordan's assistance in providing equipment and training to Presidential Palestinian security forces.

We also discussed our bilateral issues and agreed to push them forward. We discussed the possibility of expanding the QIZ areas in order to promote joint economic activity in the region and to explore ways to develop our neighboring areas in the Arava valley and along the Dead Sea.

Your Majesty, I intend to maintain close contact with you. I thank you again for your kind words and your hospitality and am looking forward to continue working closely with you in the future.

Thank you.

Sources: Prime Minister's Office