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Transcript of Ariel Sharon's speech at Egypt summit


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Palestinian and Israeli leaders announce a cease-fire.
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Ariel Sharon

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (CNN) -- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced a cease-fire at a summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Tuesday. Following is a transcript of Sharon's address:

Sharon: Good afternoon. I would like to thank our host, President Mubarak for his initiative in inviting us here to Sharm el-Sheikh for this summit conference.

We really hope that this day will be the day that marks the relaunching of the process for a better future that will lead us towards mutual respect and peace for the Middle East.

I'd also very much like to thank, especially His Majesty King Abdullah. And congratulations, give you birthday congratulations. And may you live long and happiness, and may there be tranquility in your area. In our area may we have closening (sic) between all of us in this area.

And I'd also like to congratulate Mahmoud Abbas on his victory in the presidential elections for Palestine.

I do trust that you will be able to mark for your people a real change in direction that will impact on the entire area. I do trust that you will manage to lead your people along a path of democracy, of law enforcement, respect of law and democratic existence for your people.

This year we trust will mark a major turning point in the quality of life for all the peoples of this area, particularly the Palestinian people and the Israeli people. And we do trust this opportunity will not be missed. We have an opportunity to turn our backs on the bloody path that has been imposed upon us for the last four years. We have the chance to set out on a new path for the first time for a long, long time now. We see signs of a hope for a better future for our children and our grandchildren.

We must cautiously progress. This is a very fragile opportunity and we know that there are extremists who are just waiting to close this window of opportunity, but it is up to us to make sure that they do not drown this opportunity in bloodletting. If we do not manage to grasp this opportunity now, they will succeed and we must not let them do that.

We must all today, here, declare that violence will not prevail. That violence will not be allowed to murder hope. We must all undertake not to make do with a fleeting period of quiet, but we must all work unceasingly and indefatigably to break down the terrorism mechanism once and for all. It is only by doing away with violence that we will be able to give hope to peace. We must not allow this opportunity to slip from our fingers, this hope, this opportunity for a genuine new start.

And that is why we have worked very actively and with great determination in renewing our links with the Palestinian side. We have in the last few days achieved new understandings with our Palestinian opposite numbers, that will be able to give peace and tranquility to both peoples.

In my meeting with Mr. Abbas today, I have reached an agreement that the Palestinians will cease all of their actions of violence Palestinians (sic), everywhere. And in parallel, Israel will cease its military operations against the Palestinians in all locations. We do trust and hope that as of today a new era will be ushered in of tranquility and quiet.

And in addition we have agreed on new security arrangements for Palestinian localities. I have reported to Chairman Abbas about a series of confidence building measures. We will be releasing a whole series of prisoners and we will be establishing a new forum which will deal with arrangements for the release of prisoners in the future.

We do hope we will have a new era, which will make a real change that will be a proper, solid basis for new relations between us. I am absolutely determined to implement the disengagement plan, which I have initiated. This was initiated as a unilateral step by ourselves, but if a real change actually comes about from the Palestinian side, then disengagement can bring about peace and act as a new launching point for coordinated and successful plan.

The disengagement plan will be able to pave the way to the implementation of the road map to which we are committed and which we do wish to put into practice. We are prepared to take all of the undertakings we have accepted and turn them into deeds. And we do also hope that the other side will put into practice all of the matters it has undertaken to do. It must be deeds, not words. That is the only way we can achieve two states, which will live in peace and in tranquility, side by side.

With your permission, I would here like to address the citizens of our two peoples.

To our Palestinian neighbors, I would like to promise you that we have a genuine intention to respect your rights to live independently and in dignity. I have already said this. Israel has no intention to continue ruling you and your destiny.

We, in Israel, have been able, albeit with pain, to give up our dreams, our visions, and we know that we must take various steps in order to put into practice this new path that is being outlined. We trust that you, too, will be able to muster the strength to be realistic to give up some of your vision to live in peace and in mutual self-respect, side by side with us.

And to the citizens of Israel, I say, we have gone through very difficult years, but we have stood fast in the most difficult experiences, but now we have this future opening up to us. We know that what awaits us is not easy and we know that there is major dissension over it. But we must not miss the opportunity to try to put into practice what we have longed for, for years, so many years: security, tranquility, and peace.

And my last call, now to our hosts, and the leaders of the Arab countries of this area: Let us hold hands, let us get together and bring about a new atmosphere of openness and tolerance. Today, we can stem the flood of radicals who could otherwise allow us all to be swept away in a whirlpool of bloodletting and violence. I do hope that we are able to say to the peoples of the Middle East there are the initial, the first glows of light of hope here. I hope for all of us that we will be able to live in liberty, in hope, prosperity and peace.

May we all be worthy of this great opportunity which has presented itself to us.


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