President Shimon Peres issued a warning to those countries standing with Syria that it is not Syria that they support, but its leader President Bashar Assad.

“I believe that Assad is reaching his end,” Peres told heads of foreign missions in Israel at the annual reception that he hosts for diplomats prior to Rosh Hashana.

“It will happen sooner than we think,” he predicted, after noting that Iran is supplying arms to Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas.

Referring to Assad as “a hangman,” Peres cautioned those who side with Assad: “Don’t hang your hopes on a hangman.”

The president also said that while he prefers to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions without bloodshed, “time is limited,” and sanctions have not achieved their desired effect, leaving the military option open.

Peres addressed the ambassadors in a wide-ranging talk that included the scientific and technological impact on the global economy, the changing face of the Middle East, the diplomatic and economic sanctions that have been taken against Iran, the barbarity of Syria, his belief in the possibility of peace with the Palestinians and the role that diplomats can play as “messengers of hope.”

Peres was highly appreciative of the latest diplomatic economic and military steps the United States, Europe and Canada have taken to increase pressure on Iran in the hope of getting the Islamic Republic to desist from its nuclear plan.

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After the formalities, Peres made a point of asking Canadian Ambassador Paul Hunt to convey his appreciation to the Candian government for the hard line that it has taken with Iran.

The president also praised the US for trying to organize a coalition of nations and for adopting other means of persuasion including increasing its military presence in the Persian Gulf.

He was also pleased that Europeans are calling for increased economic sanctions and he lauded Canada for severing diplomatic relations with Iran.

Cameroon Ambassador Henri Etoundi Essomba, who is the dean of the Diplomatic Corps, said he favored utilizing every avenue of pressure on Iran, other than a military strike.

“The international community with the United States of America at the leading position is of the opinion that there is still room for diplomatic isolation and tough economic sanctions to work and to curve the Iranian ambitions for military nuclear capabilities,” he said.

Essomba said the deadlock in the diplomatic process with the Palestinians had generated tension between the two sides, and it was this tension that had convinced the PA of the necessity to seek recognition at the United Nations Security Council.

Peres said he was hopeful that the peace process with the Palestinians would resume in the near future and expressed his confidence that the differences between Israel and the Palestinians could be resolved.

“They are not forever, and I think in spite of all the announcements and declarations there is also a feeling spreading that enough is enough. The time has come to bring an end to this conflict and I think you can be of great help,” he told the diplomats, urging them to encourage both sides to find common ground.

Essomba, in reviewing events of the region over the past year, said the Arab Spring had shaken up the Middle East, opening an era of uncertainty across the region from Yemen to Libya.

Yet amid this uncertainty, Egypt’s newly elected President Mohamed Morsy had vowed to keep all international agreements signed by Egypt, including the peace treaty with Israel.

“This represents a positive evolution and real opportunity for dialogue between the two countries,” said Essomba.

In this respect, he added, Morsy was undoubtedly demonstrating a great sense of leadership, particularly when it came to taking upon himself to work in close cooperation with Israel in fighting the extremists who seek to make the Sinai Peninsula a land of lawlessness.

“By this attitude, Egypt is sending an unequivocal message, not only to the State of Israel but also to the rest of the world on the credibility and reliability of its government, as well as its willingness to deny the repeated appeals for the revocation of the peace treaty with Israel,” Essomba said.

In Syria, he said, the raging civil war is far from coming to an end, and the efforts of the international community still remain unsuccessful.

“Meanwhile, there is real concern over the fate of the Syrian chemical weapons, not to mention the consequences of the conflict on the neighboring countries,” he said.

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