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Wednesday, December 1, 2004
PM SHARON TO EGYPTIAN FM GHEIT: EXIT FROM BORDER & OPERATION OF PORTS CONTINGENT ON CONTROLLING WEAPONS SMUGGLING

PM SHARON MEETS WITH EGYPTIAN FM AHMED ABUL GHEIT
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser) Wednesday, 01 December,
2004

[IMRA: "Prime Minister Sharon discussed the issue of weapons smuggling into
Gaza from Egypt and said that this must be dealt with thoroughly in order to
complete the future exit from the Philadelphia corridor and in order to
develop air and sea ports."

It remains unclear how many weeks, days Egypt has to
"thoroughly" deal with the smuggling for Israel to permanently withdraw from
the border and open the Gaza air and sea ports to international
traffic. It should be noted that many times in the past the Government of
Israel has gone on record praising Egypt for its dealing with the
smuggling - only to find that the Egyptian action was either temporary
.]

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met this morning (Wednesday), 1.12.04, with
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit and Egyptian General Intelligence
Director Omar Soliman.

In their talks, which were held in a good atmosphere, Prime Minister Sharon
said that he is interested in advancing bilateral relations, including the
promotion of preferred industrial zones (QIZ). The Prime Minister expressed
his appreciation for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's constructive
approach towards the advancement of bilateral relations and towards
advancing the diplomatic process with the Palestinians. The Prime Minister
said that Egypt's assistance in general, and that of Egyptian President
Mubarak in particular, could move the process forward.

Prime Minister Sharon reiterated his regret over the killing of the three
Egyptian soldiers along the Philadelphia corridor
( http://tinyurl.com/6js8p ) and added that when the IDF completes its
investigation, the findings will be forwarded for Egyptian scrutiny. He
said that Israel was prepared to assist the families of the dead soldiers,
including rendering compensation.

Prime Minister Sharon said that Israel would implement the Disengagement
Plan in full, according to the determined timetable. He said that Israel
views recent developments in the Palestinian Authority (PA) as an
opportunity in which, if the Palestinians implement their commitments
regarding security, the war on terrorism and reforms, it should be possible
to re-establish a diplomatic dialogue, according to the Roadmap. The Prime
Minister said that after the PA elections it would be possible to coordinate
with the new leadership on security - and other - affairs regarding the
disengagement. The Prime Minister also said that Israel would take the
necessary steps in order to facilitate the proper holding of PA elections
and would coordinate with the Palestinians on this.

Prime Minister Sharon discussed the issue of weapons smuggling into Gaza
from Egypt and said that this must be dealt with thoroughly in order to
complete the future exit from the Philadelphia corridor and in order to
develop air and sea ports.

Prime Minister Sharon said that he had approved a series of security-related
issues for the security establishment, which could be agreed upon during and
after the visit, in the framework of dialogue between the professional
bodies.

Prime Minister Sharon emphasized that Israel is considering a series of
humanitarian measures designed to ease restrictions on the Palestinian
population that is not involved in terrorism and said that there has also
been significant progress on the issue of transferring sequestrated
Palestinian funds to the PA Finance Minister.

The two Egyptian ministers thanked Prime Minister Sharon for holding the
meeting and said that they are very much encouraged by his approach towards
advancing the Disengagement Plan and assisting the Palestinians in advancing
the electoral process. They said that Egyptian President Mubarak supports
the Disengagement Plan and is willing to render any and all assistance, both
to Israel and the Palestinians, in order to move it forward and in order to
promote Israeli-Palestinian dialogue with a view towards bringing about a
better reality in the region, including stability and security.

It was agreed to increase bilateral cooperation, as well as cooperation
between the two leaders, and to be in constant touch in order to jointly
advance the various issues on the agenda.

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