On a three-day visit to the US capital, President Shimon Peres met with US President Obama, Secretary Clinton and House leaders.
President Shimon Peres, "We don’t want to be in controversy with the Muslim world. We want to make friends with them. We want to have peace."
– President Peres to Security Council ambassadors: Gaza has become a terror state

 President Peres meets with US leaders in Washington D.C.


President Peres meets with US President Obama in the White House (Photo: GPO)

(Israel Embassy, Washington D.C.)

President Peres meets with President Obama at the White House

On Tuesday (April 5), President Barack Obama met with President Shimon Peres at the White House, where the two discussed everything from the "Arab Spring" and the Peace Process to the global threat of Iran’s nuclear program.

The following is the U.S. President’s full comments on the meeting during a Q&A with reporters:

"President Peres is, I think, an extraordinary statesman. We had an extensive discussion about what’s happened in the Middle East. I think he and I both share a belief that this is both a challenge and an opportunity, that with the winds of change blowing through the Arab world, it’s more urgent than ever than we try to seize the opportunity to create a peaceful solution between the Palestinians and the Israelis. And he had some very interesting ideas around those issues.

"He also recognizes the fact that in a country like Egypt, not only do we need to be nurturing democracy, but we also have to make sure that economic opportunity is growing there. And so we explored some ideas about how we can provide some help and make sure that young people there see a brighter future.

"And that’s something that Secretary Clinton during her trip in Egypt spoke extensively about, and we’ll probably be rolling out some additional plans on that front."

President Shimon Peres, "We don’t want to be in controversy with the Muslim world. We want to make friends with them. We want to have peace."

President Peres graciously invited President Obama to come to Israel in June for the Israeli Presidential Conference. President Obama first visited Israel as a Senator, but this would be his first official visit to Israel as President.

House leaders meet with President Peres

 President Peres meets with US leaders in Washington D.C.

Photo: GPO

President Shimon Peres held a working meeting on Capitol Hill (April 6) with the Speaker of the House John Boehner and House leadership including the House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and key Congressional figures including Steny Hoyer, Kevin McCarthy, Howard Berman, Kay Granger, Nita Lowey, and Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

At the start of their meeting the Speaker John Boehner, said that it is a great honor for the U.S. Congress to host President Peres, one of the important leaders in the world whom he met 20 years ago.  He and his colleagues cherish and appreciate President Peres as a serious leader with a vision for peace, a man of depth and experience.

Rep. Boehner and his colleagues pointed out to the President that in the U.S. Congress there is open and unequivocal support for Israel and that support is shared by Republicans and Democrats alike. "America and Israel enjoy an enduring alliance rooted in common values, and it’s important we reaffirm those unshakable ties during this period of instability in the Middle East. The people of Israel have sacrificed for the sake of peace and stability, and Americans stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them" he said. The Members of Congress expressed similar sentiments during the course of the meeting and emphasized that a large delegation of Congressmen is expected to visit Israel this summer, meet its leadership and learn firsthand the issues that require attention of the U.S. Congress.

President Peres said at the meeting: "In the name of the State of Israel I came here today to thank the U.S. Congress for their bipartisan, steadfast and unwavering support of the State of Israel.  I thank you for the invitation to visit this important institution, the heartbeat of democracy. And I thank you for the tremendous support that the State of Israel received from this institution for many years during the joint history of our two peoples. We are lucky that we have your support. Rest assured that our people are grateful to you."

The President pointed out that the United States has contributed greatly to the stability, democracy and peace in the world. "You are a nation that all its life only gives and contibutes without asking anything in return," Peres said. He also mentioned that without the United States the world would be less good than what it is today.

The Members of Congress asked to hear President Peres’ analysis of the current situation in the Middle East, the negotiations between the Palestinians, the possibility for peace with Syria as well as the Iranian nuclear issue. The President repeated Israel’s commitment to implement the principle of two states for two peoples and said that "Israel is interested in peace with all its neighbors but the Iranian issue threatens the entire Middle East."

President Peres said that it was important to continue with serious economic sanctions against Iran which finances murderous terror organizations, affects regional stability and tries to develop nuclear weapons of mass destruction. "We cannot ignore the words of Ahmadinejad who wants to wipe Israel off the map. Everything must be done so that Iran does not succeed in developing a nuclear bomb."

Regarding Syria, President Peres told the Members of Congress that "Syria has been strengthening its relationship with Iran, and it prevents freedom, equality and democracy from its citizens. Israel wants peace with Syria but we cannot go back to the negotiating table while Assad continues to support terror, allows the smuggling of missiles and weapons into his country and operates as an Iranian satellite for all intents and purposes."

At the end of the meeting the President and the Speaker of the House made statements to the press on strengthening the cooperation between Israel and the United States.After finishing the meeting at the Congress, President Peres had an additional meeting at the Senate with the Majority leader Harry Reid, as well as Senators John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, Mitch McConnell, Richard Durbin, and Richard Lugar. During the meeting President Peres thanked the United States Senate for its continued and unwavering commitment to the security of Israel and for helping to maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge.

President Shimon Peres meets with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

 President Peres meets with US leaders in Washington D.C.

Photo: GPO

Israeli President Shimon Peres met with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Blair House (April 4) on the first day of his three-day visit to Washington, D.C. President Peres and Secretary Clinton discussed the recent political unrest in the Middle East and the pursuit of peace between Israel and its neighbors. Secretary Clinton stated that she believed the current situation in the Middle East presents challenges and opportunities for the international community.