​President Peres: Israel is a country that seeks peace; our greatest hope is to see the region come out of poverty and an end to suffering among innocent people.

 President Peres on state visit to Norway

 

Copyright: GPO/Haim Zach

(Communicated by the Office of the President)
The President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, departed on Sunday (May 11, 2014) for a state visit to Norway as the guest of King Harald V and Queen Sonja. During the visit, President Peres met with King Harald V, Prime Minister Solberg and senior ministers. One of the focal points of the visit was a speech by President Peres at a special event at the Nobel Institute.

President Peres met King Harald V at the Royal Palace in Oslo, where he was welcomed by an honor guard and the singing of the two national anthems. The royal family hosted a dinner in honor of the State of Israel, during which King Harald V and President Peres delivered speeches which focused on further strengthening the relations between the two countries.

President Peres also conducted a diplomatic work meeting with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Tuesday, 13 May 2014), after which the two held a joint press conference. During the meeting the two leaders discussed deepening the cooperation between the two countries, the Iranian nuclear threat and the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians.

Prime Minister Solberg began the press conference, and expressed her support for the developing relations between Israel and Norway and stated her intention to deepen the cooperation further. Addressing the peace process with the Palestinians, she expressed Norway’s support for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians based upon two states for two people and her hopes that the two sides would resume negotiations. Prime Minister Solberg made clear that Norway views the settlements as illegal under international law but opposes boycotts against Israel.

President Peres thanked Prime Minister Solberg for her opposition to boycotts and said, "Relations between Israel and Norway are of great importance to Israel. I thank you for the warm welcome and the important meeting we just held. Israel is a country that seeks peace, our greatest hope is to see the region come out of poverty and an end to suffering among innocent people. The negotiations with the Palestinians, led by Secretary Kerry, are currently paused but they are not finished. Neither side has a better alternative than peace based upon two states for two people. I hope that the negotiations will be re-started." President Peres added that "Israel needs friends like Norway who support peace."