'A TIME OF HOPE AND OPPORTUNITY IN THE MIDDLE EAST' – STRAW (08/06/05)
Opening comments by the Foreign Secretary at a Press Conference with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian Authority, Mr Nasser al-Qidwa.
'We are strong supporters of the Palestinian Authority and of President Abu Mazen in all your efforts to achieve what we and all the international community wish to see: an independent, viable state of Palestine, living in peace and security alongside the State of Israel.
'We regard peace here, in that framework, as one of the top priorities for the international community as a whole.
'My preoccupation has been with the preparations to ensure Palestinians can seize the opportunity (after Israeli disengagement) to create a new future.
'This is a time of greater hope than there has been since the latest intifada began. With hope and opportunity come risks. But it is my belief that with good leadership in the Palestinian Authority, and with co-operation from the Israeli government and the full support of the international community, we can create that better future.'