Peres meets UN's Serry, calls for peace talks

President tells Middle East envoy he is optimistic about prospects of peace; Serry says both sides committed to two state solution.

President Shimon Peres in holiday greeting 370 (photo credit: Screenshot)
President Shimon Peres in holiday greeting 370
(photo credit: Screenshot)
Both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict know how to reach peace, and both remain committed to a two-state solution, Robert Serry, the special Middle East envoy of UN secretary- general Ban Ki-moon, told President Shimon Peres on Wednesday night.
“We hope there will be wisdom on both sides,” he added.
The two men concurred that the present uncertain period – with presidential elections taking place next week in the United States and Knesset elections taking place in Israel in January – is not a period in which to embark on concrete steps.
They were referring specifically to the Palestinian bid for non-member statehood at the UN. Peres said that he had advised Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to wait until after both elections, because any move that he makes now may prove to be a mistake. As it is the new US president will not be sworn in until January, so there is no point in trying to effect change before mid-January, said Peres.
“The only thing we have right now is goodwill,” he said.
Nonetheless, Peres advocated encouraging hope and handling with care anything that looks like danger. “I recommend to all of us not to take any steps that will fall into a vacuum,” he said.
But this did not mean that the peace process should be abandoned until after the elections.
“We cannot reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians overnight, but we can start to negotiate,” the president insisted.
Peres made it clear that even though “the situation looks dim,” he remains optimistic.
Serry also talked about the “uncertain times” in which Israel and the Palestinians are feeling their way towards the future, and expressed the hope that “the matter will be resolved in a constructive manner.”
The UN is willing to help both sides reach a negotiated peace, he said.
Peres said that given the complicated situation in the Middle East, “the UN is doing a very responsible job.”