Peres in Moscow: We seek peace

Syria giving Hizbullah missiles is war mongering, president cautions.

By BENJAMIN HARTMAN, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
May 9, 2010 15:35
2 minute read.
Peres and Putin at Victory Day Celebrations

Peres Putin 311. (photo credit: Government Press Office)

 
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MOSCOW – Israelis very much want peace with Syria but that peace will not include a situation where Syria continues to arm Hizbullah and support terrorism, President Shimon Peres said on Sunday.

Peres said Israel would sign a peace treaty with Syria, but not if a withdrawal from the Golan Heights led to the territory immediately becoming a launching pad for attacks on the Jewish state.

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Peres salutes Red Army ahead of visit to Moscow

He said Israel had learned from the experience of 2005’s Gaza disengagement and could not repeat a situation where “we withdraw from an area and it becomes a firing range against Israel.

“Many Israeli leaders have promised Syria a full withdrawal from the Golan Heights in exchange for a real peace, but Syria must understand that they cannot receive the Golan Heights if they place missiles atop them,” the president said.

President salutes Russian contribution to Allied victory

Peres’ comments came during a state visit to Moscow, where he attended a Victory Day parade to mark the 65th anniversary of Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany.

“You paid the heaviest price of all in the war and without you, Hitler might have stayed and I fear thinking what would have happened if he had developed a nuclear weapon,” Peres said, during a meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.


Peres told Medvedev, who leaves on Monday for a two-day state visit to Damascus, that he should “send him [Syrian President Basher Assad] a clear message:

“Israel is not interested in a border escalation or a war; this is the last thing we want. We extend our hand in peace to Syria, but there must be one basic condition – Assad must stop his support for terror and stop trafficking weapons and missiles to Hizbullah.”


Peres meets with Chinese counterpart

Peres also held a closed-door meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao. Peres said he told Hu that Beijing could play an important role in thwarting Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

“You have the power to rein in Iran and you have the power to positively change the destructive power of that country,” the president’s spokeswoman, Ayelet Frisch, quoted Peres as saying.

Peres updated Hu on the proximity talks with the Palestinian Authority, and told him, “We only have a few months to carry out some intensive work with the Palestinians and Israel doesn’t want to miss an opportunity to make peace with the Palestinians,” Frisch said.

Peres returns to Israel on Tuesday.

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