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
Peres underscored the importance of listing Hezbollah as a
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.
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
The EU remains firmly committed to a two-state solution,
with the two states living side-by-side in peace and security, he
“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
We need to avoid that a onestate reality prevents a two-state
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.
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
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.