(Communicated by the Vice Prime Minister’s Bureau)

Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres this weekend attended a summit meeting of heads of state of the CICA, the Conference on Interactions and Confidence Building Measures in Asia

During the summit, the Vice Prime Minister met with the President of Russia Vladimir Putin. In his meeting with the Russian President, Shimon Peres noted that there are three options regarding Israel’s policy vis-a-vis the Palestinians: 1) bilateral negotiations; 2) re-alignment with coordination; and 3) re-alignment without coordination. In this context the Vice Prime Minister stated: "We want to end the occupation which is bad for us morally, diplomatically, and demographically. We also prefer to do so bilaterally."

During the summit, the Vice Prime Minister also met the presidents of Kazakhstan and China. He described to these heads of state his "Economic Valley of Peace" plan which would transform the Israeli-Jordanian-Palestinian political border into an economic corridor of cooperation and joint initiatives. All three presidents expressed that they would try to help further the plan.

CICA was founded by Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev in 1992, and Israel is one of its members. Other members in the organization include: Russia, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Mongolia, Egypt, India, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Thailand. Countries and organizations that maintain observer status include: Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, Malaysia, Ukraine, the USA and Vietnam, as well as the UN, the OSCE and the Arab League.