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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi [file])
Israel will soon hold talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Vice Premier Shimon Peres said Friday on the eve of an international conference of heads of state and other leaders in Kazakhstan.
"In a very short while, we shall start to talk with him," Peres said in an interview with foreign media.
Peres said Abbas was a viable negotiating partner who was legitimately elected by his people. He said Palestinians must choose between the path of compromise that politics offers, or the "uncompromising" road of religion.
"Foreign support won't come to a party which opposes peace, which doesn't recognize Israel," Peres said of the Hamas-led PA.
Participants in the conference are expected to discuss security and other issues of mutual concern. A delegation from the Palestinian Authority is attending.
The vice premier also spoke of the Iranian nuclear issue, saying that Iran awould suffer deepening poverty and isolation if it spurned international appeals for it to halt its nuclear activity.
Peres said he believed an emerging coalition of nations would eventually prevail in negotiations with Teheran.
"Their choice is to keep the country poor and their arsenal rich. It cannot go on forever," Peres said of Iran's position. "The speeches are very impressive, but the reality is very depressing."
Peres declined to say whether Israel would favor military action if international talks with Iran fail.
"Iran is a world problem. We don't want to make it into an Israeli problem," he said. "Let others decide."