Talk of Israeli strike in Iran 'nonsense,' Peres tells Mitchell

President sends conciliatory message in meeting with US envoy, who reiterates commitment to Israel's security, establishment of a Palestinian state.

peres mitchell 248 88 (do not publish again) (photo credit: Flash 90)
peres mitchell 248 88 (do not publish again)
(photo credit: Flash 90)
Talk of a possible Israeli strike in Iran is "nonsense" and the solution to the nuclear standoff with Teheran is "not military," President Shimon Peres said Thursday during a meeting with special US envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell. Peres said that confronting the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon required broad international cooperation, adding that the world must examine whether dialogue with the Islamic republic was authentic or merely "a bluff." Peres's statement was seemingly at odds with remarks he made Sunday, when he warned that if US President Barack Obama's overtures to Teheran proved fruitless Israel would be forced to "strike" Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Mitchell, for his part, reiterated Washington's commitment to Israel's security, saying, however, that the Obama administration was also committed to the formation of a Palestinian state. On Wednesday, shortly after Mitchell's arrival, Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the envoy that Israel and the United States "can and need" to "coordinate and reach understandings" on all the issues on the regional agenda. Following his meeting with the president, Mitchell met with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Later Thursday, the US envoy is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Government sources said that Netanyahu was keen on working together with the US envoy, and that this trip was an opportunity to "touch base with one another and find the common ground to move forward." Both Israeli and US officials have said there was wide understanding in Washington that the Netanyahu government was still in its "policy review" stage, and that at this point what Mitchell would hear in Jerusalem was mostly broad outlines, but few details. Herb Keinon contributed to this report