Contrary to views expressed by several members of the government, President Shimon Peres continues to regard Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as a partner for peace.

Speaking to Congo-born human rights activist Rose Mapendo in Jerusalem on Monday against the backdrop of Abbas’s meeting with US President Barack Obama in Washington, Peres called the Palestinian leader “a good partner.” He added that he was glad the government was negotiating with him, and that there was “a clear majority” in favor of the twostate solution.

“We are in the middle of a process for peace and we are at the most crucial part of the negotiations,” the president told Mapendo, who survived the genocide in the Democratic Republic of Congo at the end of the 1990s and later, in her new home country of the US, established the Mapendo New Horizons Foundation.

In his endorsement of Abbas as a peace partner, Peres told her that the PA leader was a man of principle who disapproved of terror and violence.

Acknowledging the disagreements between the two sides, he said they were in agreement in their opposition to terrorism.

Peres said it was in the mutual interest of Israelis and Palestinians to find a way to solve the disagreements, adding that crucial decisions would have to be made in the coming weeks.

“Negotiations are a process of creation,” he said. “We are all waiting for peace. It is the wish of the Israeli and Palestinian people.”

Mapendo expressed her appreciation to Peres for fighting for peace, saying it was a “big elephant which we all have a responsibility to push forward together for a better future.”

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