Peres Abbas and Kerry at WEC 521.
(photo credit: World Economic Forum / Benedikt von Loebell)
President Shimon Peres on Sunday congratulated Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on his decision to restart peace talks.
"You have made a brave and historic decision to return to the negotiating table. Do not listen to the skeptics," Peres said.
Abbas told Peres that he hoped that there would be progress in the peace process and that the Palestinians "would receive an independent state that would exist side by side with Israel in peace."
The Palestinian leader said to Peres that "we should complete the peace process that we initiated together many years ago," adding, "There is hope; we will continue to build the future and I hope we will reach a good end." The Sunday Times
reported on Sunday that it was Peres who "paved the way" for the agreement announced by US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday, for the resumption of peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis.
Citing unnamed Israeli and Palestinian sources, the Times
reported that Peres met Abbas in Amman for secret talks in which he convinced the PA president to accept that "West Bank settlers and Jewish residents of East Jerusalem could remain in their settlements but be subject to the Palestinian state."
According to the sources, Peres pressured the Palestinian leader to accept this condition "as the minimum that he needed to convince Netanyahu to give his blessing to the talks."
Peres met last May with Abbas on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea.