After adressing the UN General Assembly, President Shimon Peres met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and PA President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday.

In his meeting with Ban, Peres discussed talks with the Palestinians, saying that he is optimistic after meetings in Washington, Sharm e-Sheikh and Jerusalem. Ban called upon the international community to help in the peace process.



Peres also spoke about the difficulties in negotiations, and said that the sides must come up with creative solutions. He added that there must be confidentiality in the talks, rather than having a "continuous press conference"

Peres also expressed his disappointment in Iran's role in the UN. "Ahmadinejad is trying to use Israel as a tool in order to distract from Iran's problems," the president said. "The alternatives are a Middle East in which states are independent and free or a Middle East in which Iran has a nuclear bomb and is uncontrollable."

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"The UN charter forbids a member state to threaten another UN member state, and the international community must condemn a state that calls to destroy another state," Peres said.

Ban and Peres also discussed the situation in Gaza. Ban thanked Peres for the Israeli government's cooperation in allowing the UN to run projects in Gaza, and asked Israel to help as much as possible.

Peres explained that "terrorist organizations are once again shooting missiles from Gaza to Israel, aiming at citizens and against the peace process." He asked the secretary-general to condemn the attacks.

Addressing the UN General Assembly on Monday, President Shimon Peres denounced Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, saying, “There is enough room for friendship in the Middle East,” and later calling him “a living declaration against the charter of the UN.”

“The formal leader of Iran has said that there is no future for Israel in the Middle East,” Peres told the General Assembly. “I believe that the Middle East has room for every person, every nation, every religion. I believe that every person was created in the image of the Lord, and that there is just one Lord, who calls not to hate, not to threaten, not to seek superiority, and not to kill.

“Israel will continue to exist, and aspire to peace with its neighbors,” he said.

Peres told the General Assembly, gathered for its annual meeting, that there are two “burning challenges of our time: to harness science and technology to increase food production for every child and every family, and to stand together against terror.

“A hungry world will never be peaceful,” he said. “A terrorized world will never be governable.”

Despite his belief in friendship, Peres did acknowledge at the commencement of his short speech that “history was written in blood.”

Speaking “on behalf of a small people and a tiny land,” he underscored that Israel exists despite the murder of one-third of the world’s Jewish population in the Holocaust, and seven attacks on Israel in the state’s 62-year history.

Citing the current negotiations with the Palestinians, Peres said, “There is no other peaceful alternative” to the conflict than a two-state solution, “and I believe that we shall succeed, in spite of the difficulties.

“We are ready to enter into direct negotiations with Syria, right away,” he added.

“We are committed to the [UN’s] Millenium Development Goals,” Peres said. “We share the burden of saving the world from war and hunger.

Without peace, poverty will remain. Without food, peace will not prevail.”

Science, creativity and knowledge have “replaced land as the most important source of wealth,” he said.

“The new millenium must liberate the world from bloodshed, from discrimination, from hunger, from ignorance, from maladies.”

Peres referenced Israeli innovations in agriculture based on science, and said the nation has “the highest rate of scientists per square mile in the world.

“I am confident that our path is available to everyone,” he said, referencing Israeli scientific advances. “Our experience is replicable.”

He added that Israel is willing to share its experience with many countries, including those with whom it does not have diplomatic relations.

Speaking to reporters after his speech, Peres called Ahmadinejad “a living declaration against the charter of the UN,” referencing the provision of the UN charter that states that a member state cannot threaten another with destruction.

“He calls for our destruction, and also supplies arms to every terrorist organization in the Middle East,” Peres told reporters.

When asked about the current state of the talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, Peres said there is a “serious problem” with regard to the moratorium on settlement construction. He noted that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had declared the 10-month moratorium of his own initiative, and that the time was “not used” by the Palestinians.

Characterizing himself as an “old hand” in negotiations, Peres said he was “not surprised.”

“The United States, as well as Israel, are in a serious search for how to bridge over difficulties,” he said.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday that he will not participate “for a single day” in US brokered peace negotiations if Israel does not extended the settlement construction moratorium, AFP reported.

“The negotiations will continue as long as the settlement [construction] remains frozen, but I am not prepared to negotiate an agreement for a single day more,” Abbas said.

Peres was also asked about Turkish President Abdullah Gul, who told reporters on Sunday that he would not meet with Peres while in New York.

Gul, Peres said, had tried to place conditions on a meeting with Peres, to which Peres could not agree. Peres stressed that Israel is still “friends” with Turkey.

When speaking at a press conference on Sunday, however, Gul said his busy schedule was to blame for canceling the meeting. Gul went on to say that Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu will be holding more than 50 bilateral meetings during the UN summit.

Gul will be meeting with Ahmadinejad.

Peres will speak on Tuesday at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York, on a panel with Bahrain’s Prince Salman bin Hamad al- Khalifa, former US president Bill Clinton and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Fayyad is appealing for more international aid, pledging continued reforms and vowing that his government will be ready for statehood “at any point” if additional assistance is forthcoming.

Fayyad said the PA is on target to meet its own contributions to its budget but faces a nearly $1 billion shortfall.

Speaking at a meeting with donor nations on the sidelines of the General Assembly, he said contributions from the US, European Union and Arab nations would ensure the viability of his administration.

It was critical that Israel ease restrictions on Palestinians living in the West Bank, he said.

Fayyad’s comments followed the release of a World Bank report that praised his reforms.

AP contributed to this report.

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