PM Olmert: Madam Chancellor, Dr. Angela Merkel, Vice Chancellor, Dr. Steinmeier, Madam Vice Prime Minister, Minister Tzipi Livni, Ministers of the German Government, Ministers of the Government of Israel, Distinguished Guests...
This is a unique event, perhaps even unprecedented, in the political history of the State of Israel. For the first time, a delegation of eight ministers, headed by the German Chancellor, sat in the Cabinet room and held a discussion with their counterparts in the Israeli Government, during which a long list of topics was discussed, which reflects cooperation on an unprecedented scale between our countries. In terms of relations with any country, this was an impressive event.
In terms of the relations between Israel and Germany, they have substance, meaning and profound symbolism. It is pointless at this juncture to embark on a complex discussion of the very special history of the relations between Germany and Israel. What is important is that we not forget anything, but also we must not relinquish the chance and obligation to act together in order to ensure a better future for our peoples, for the region and for the entire world - a future of security, reconciliation, tolerance and peace.
Through these efforts, Chancellor Merkel and her Government are loyal partners to the State of Israel. They are our partners and deeply and genuinely share with us our commitment to the values and principles which are the basis for the existence, actions and future of the State of Israel.
They are true friends to the State of Israel and play an extremely active role in our shared struggles for matters which are of vital importance - to us and to the entire world.
During the past two days, I have held a series of very serious and significant discussions with Chancellor Merkel which dealt with a range of topics. Of course, we discussed the subject of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and the State of Israel's commitment to continue these negotiations and make every effort so that they come to fruition ahead of an understanding for the outline of a solution of two states for two people in the coming year. We spoke at length about the Government of Israel's determination to continue the struggle against Palestinian terror, especially that which targets innocent citizens in Southern Israel and other areas, and we clarified that the State of Israel will not hesitate to continue striking at these terrorists in order to realize our duty to protect our citizens.
We also spoke of other aspects of the local arena, and of course discussed at length the shared position of Germany and Israel in the fight to prevent the nuclear armament of Iran. Both Germany and Israel, as is reflected in our statements as well, view Iran's continued steps to obtain nuclear weapons in a similar manner and with great concern, and we also share the recognition that there is a need to continue implementing a series of steps which will lead to the cessation of this process. I would like to thank the Chancellor for her cooperation and for the special way she chose to express the profound moral commitment of her country and her people to the future of the State of Israel, and for the cooperation in various fields which will ensure the ongoing ties between our Governments and our peoples in order to fulfill the goals which we set for ourselves.
Chancellor Merkel: The Honorable Prime Minister, Mr. Ehud Olmert, Dear colleagues, German and Israeli...