Netanyahu calls on Abbas to 'end conflict once and for all'

Peres welcomes world lea

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday night called for the world to reduce its dependence on oil, at the opening of President Shimon Peres's 'Facing Tomorrow' conference in Jerusalem. Speaking after Peres officially opened the annual conference, the prime minister called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to "lead [his] people to peace," so that Israel and the Palestinians can "end this conflict once and for all." "The time has come for our two nations to live side by side, in peace and security," Netanyahu added. Switching to English, the told the audience, "It's possible to change the world," a possible echo of US President Obama's campaign slogan, "Yes we can." In his opening address, Peres welcomed the world leaders attending the conference, and reiterated Israel's support for a two-state solution. Ahead of the conference, Obama sent a message which praised Peres as a "great statesman." The US president said that Peres's "life stands as an extraordinary example how courage and perseverance help shape the future. Turning harrowing challenges into historic opportunities." Speaking about the conference itself, Obama said, "By drawing upon such a wide range of expertise within Israel, President Peres is harnessing the talent and dynamism of the Israeli people in facing the future. By bringing together such a broad and remarkable group of leaders from around the world is underscoring a fundamental truth - we cannot meet the tests of our time unless we meet them together." Peres had invited Obama to attend his annual conference, but the president could not go, so he asked US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice to represent the administration, according to a US official. Rice was set to meet with both Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during her three-day visit. Also attending the conference were EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Quartet envoy Tony Blair. The Goldstone Report, which accuses Israel of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip, was expected to be high on the agenda during talks that Netanyahu will be holding in the coming days with leaders attending the conference. AP contributed to this report