”Fruits of disengagement already seen” Sharon tells Rice in Jerusalem
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice agreed Sunday that Israel's planned pull-out of troops and settlers from Gaza Strip will make Israel safer and the prospects for peace with the Palestinians brighter.
"The state of Israel stands at the threshold of a historic step," Sharon said before a meeting with Rice on the Gaza plans. "The fruits of the disengagement can already be seen" and Israel will be politically and economically better off for it, Sharon said.
"I believe that a smooth and successful implementation of the plan in coordination with the Palestinians will help energize the political process under the road map," Sharon said.
"All this is dependent on the Palestinians stopping the terror, violence and incitement, dismantling and disarming terror groups."
Sharon said Washington has an important role to play in ensuring the pullout, scheduled for mid-August, goes smoothly.
Rice also called the planned August withdrawal historic and thanked Sharon warmly for making what each said were difficult choices.
"The Israelis deserve a secure and peaceful future free from the threat of terror and violence," Rice told Sharon.
She said the Gaza plan is key to the success of the internationally backed peace plan known as the roadmap and "the eventual ability to get to a two-state solution."
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)