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2 June 2004
Summary Transcript Joint Press Briefing
EU High Representative for the CFSP,
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State
Brussels, 2 June, 2004
It is a great pleasure to receive the Deputy Secretary of State of the United States, a good friend, for the first time here in Brussels. I hope it will not be the last time that he comes to visit.
We also spoke about the Middle East Peace Process. We had a very good "Quartet" meeting in New York not a long time ago in which we talked in particular about the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. The plans of the Israeli Prime Minister Sharon are not finished yet. He still has to go through some potential difficulties in the government and in the Knesset, but we expect that the withdrawal will become a reality and that it will be accomplished according to the terms that were agreed on by the "Quartet". This would mean a total withdrawal of forces and the end of the occupation in the Gaza Strip. If that is the case, the members of the "Quartet", in particular the United States and the European Union, together with the countries of the region, will become engaged in making the withdrawal a success. This would be a very important element to bolster the Peace Process.
We also spoke about the EU-US Summit, which is going to take place on 26 June in Ireland, where the European Union and the United States will meet at the highest level. We hope it will be a very constructive Summit. We are already working in order to make it a great success on topics such as co-operation on the broader Middle East and North-Africa, on terrorism and on economic matters. The President of the United States will be coming to Europe in the next days to meet with leaders of the European Union. I hope that those meetings will be positive and constructive for the objectives that we share.
Dr. Solana, thank you so much for your hospitality and your many kindnesses both today and throughout the years. You have accurately portrayed our discussions, so I do not need to retrace that ground. But you left out one key element of our discussions and that was the excitement and pleasure I was able to express on behalf of the United States for the recent accession of ten new member states to the European Union. There is a lot of excitement, a lot of energy that you feel here and as an American friend it is very gratifying.