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23 August 2005
Statement by the Prime Minister on the Gaza withdrawal
August 23, 2005
Prime Minister Paul Martin today issued the following statement welcoming Israel’s successful evacuation of settlers from the Gaza Strip and parts of the northern West Bank:
"The Government of Canada fully supports the significant decision taken by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the Government of Israel to withdraw from Gaza and parts of the West Bank. We are pleased that the evacuation of settlers was carried out in a relatively peaceful manner.
"Canadians are impressed by the professionalism, discipline and restraint demonstrated by the Israeli Defence Forces and police forces involved in the removal of settlers. This is a painful moment for the people of Israel but necessary if the parties are to return to the Quartet's Roadmap process and resume negotiations for a comprehensive settlement.
"We are pleased that the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority have coordinated certain practical aspects of the withdrawal, proving to the world that they can work together. It is also encouraging that the Israeli government has evacuated the settlers peacefully while the Palestinian Authority has maintained order among the Palestinian population.
"This represents a historic opportunity for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his people to make progress toward the eventual establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. We are hopeful that both parties will work toward this goal by respecting their commitments under the Roadmap."