FM Peres Meets with Foreign Ministers in New York

(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)
16 September 2002

Foreign Minister Shimon Peres met in New York on September 15 with the Foreign Ministers of China, Russia, Armenia, Mauritania and Senegal.

Foreign Minister Peres stated that we may have an opportunity for a breakthrough, and everyone involved – the Quartet, the Arab Troika, the Palestinians, and Israel – must proceed with great care in order not to miss it. He went on to say that all the members of the Quartet must synchronize their positions because the slightest crack is liable to lead to misunderstandings and catastrophe.

The Foreign Minister noted that the public debate in Israel is not about the nature of the solution to the conflict, which in fact everyone knows, but rather over the question of whether the Palestinians are a partner.

Peres expressed his opinion that the first priorities should be appointment of a Palestinian prime minister, acceleration of the security reform including modification of the administration methods of the Palestinian government, and helping Finance Minister Salem Fayad to overcome attempts to bypass him. Peres also warned that a "mega-attack" would destroy everything.

In talks with Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov, Peres mentioned the problem of the Wazzani River, explaining that Israel, which gets 30% of its water from the north, cannot allow Lebanon to divert the waters of the Wazzani. Lebanon, he stated, has no problem with water reserves, and the whole thing is a dangerous provocation. Israel is interested in a solution and not in escalating the problem, Peres informed Ivanov.

Foreign Minister Peres also met with Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Muashar.