Peres emphasizes security threats in Europe meetings

President meets with NATO chief, European Commission president, stresses Iranian nuclear threat, Syria chemical weapons.

March 8, 2013 02:22
1 minute read.
PRESIDENT SHIMON PERES shakes hands with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at NATO HQ

Peres and Rasmussen 370. (photo credit: Moshe Milner/GPO)

In meetings he held Thursday in Brussels with European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and NATO Secretary- General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, President Shimon Peres emphasized the security issues confronting Israel and the Middle East in general – stressing the Iranian nuclear threat, Hezbollah’s build-up of armaments and missiles, and Syria’s accumulation of chemical weapons.

Peres underscored the importance of listing Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

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The resumption of negotiations with the Palestinians was also discussed at both meetings.

“Peace has always been among humanity’s highest aspirations; we know what ‘reconciliation’ means, we have learned it the hard way in Europe,” Barroso declared at a media conference following their meeting. “Now we all recognize how peace is the foundation stone for everything else.

“I know President Peres is committed to achieve peace too. So my call here today is to use our energy, our capacity and our leadership to resume negotiations on the Middle East peace process.

“In this context,” Barroso continued, “we believe that Israel should be fully recognized by its regional partners and should live in security within its borders. At the same time, the Palestinian aspiration to have its own state must be fulfilled.”

The EU remains firmly committed to a two-state solution, with the two states living side-by-side in peace and security, he said.

“We therefore encourage both sides to support and implement confidence-building measures that allow the peace process to move forward. Any actions that may undermine the two-state solution should clearly be avoided.

We need to avoid that a onestate reality prevents a two-state solution.”

On the subject of the crisis in Syria, Barroso termed the situation “unbearable” and worsening daily, with the number of refugees now at 1 million. “This is a stain on the world’s conscience.

The international community has the duty to address the situation.”

At his meeting with Rasmussen, Peres said that Israel and NATO must strengthen their cooperation in the fight against terrorism, which challenges both parties, and offered to put all of Israel’s know-how and various resources at NATO’s disposal.

Rasmussen agreed that there should be greater cooperation on this level, but noted the need for Israel to strengthen its cooperation with Arab countries that also face the threat of terrorism.

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