Ambassador of the European Union to President Peres: "Israel has the full support of the European Union. There should be a negotiating process with no impositions from the outside."
(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)
Israeli President Shimon Peres accepted the credentials of the new ambassadors from Turkey, the European Union, Panama, Ghana, and Greece in an official ceremony held at the President’s Residence. President Peres discussed bilateral relations with the ambassadors with a particular focus on scientific, commercial, agricultural, technological, and touristic relations. The President promised the cooperation of the Office of the President.
In a meeting with the incoming Turkish Ambassador, Mr. Ahmet Oguz Celikkol, President Peres remarked on the relationship between both countries: "I really want to welcome you full heartedly. Relations with Turkey have a long past and I am sure a great future." President Peres also asked the ambassador to deliver his warm invitation to Turkish President Abdullah Gul and emphasized that he would be glad to host him on his visit. The President also updated the Ambassador on recent events with the Palestinians and the continuing economic growth in the West Bank.
The Ambassador responded that "our relationship is based on a very solid foundation. The President appreciates your invitation and at the appropriate time will visit Israel." The ambassador added, "Turkey is willing to contribute whatever it can to peace between Israel and its neighbors. This is our position and our government is following a policy of good relations with all its neighbors. Turkey considers Israel as a neighbor."
The President responded to the Turkish Ambassador and stated, "Turkey is an influential partner here [in the Middle East and] we are following its moves. I hope we shall together be able to bring peace closer. Our armies have a very close relationship and we have common dangers. Today the challenges do not come from armies, but rather from terror, violence, and weapons of mass destruction." The President added, "I am sure you met many friends, because Turkey has lots of friends in this country."
Earlier today the President also accepted the credentials of the Ambassador of the European Union Mr. Andrew Standley. At the start of the meeting the President stated that "I see the European Union is so interested in the Middle East. Let us make it a joint venture. We think that Europe can and should play an important role in the peace initiative and peace process. But I think there should be several principles all of us should respect. One, it must be an agreed upon plan, otherwise it will not hold water. Nobody can impose anything. Second, it should be basically bilateral, supported by Europe, the United States, and the Quartet. Third, we cannot forget the previous resolutions."
President Peres told the E.U. Ambassador that there the issue of Jerusalem has been muddled. The President emphasized that Gilo and the Old City require different approaches. Lastly, the President emphasized that Israel is committed to freedom of worship, without interruption, for people of all faiths in all of Jerusalem. The President added that "I personally believe that right now we cannot negotiate the negotiations."
The EU Ambassador responded, "In historical and cultural terms we have a deep connection. I think our engagement with Israel, with other countries in the region, is a vital interest for the European Union." The Ambassador added, "We hope very much that all parties involved will be able to see these conclusions as a sincere and constructive and balanced effort to contribute to a positive dynamic to lead to the reopening of negotiations."
The Ambassador concluded, "I think it is important in the context to know that the conclusions adopted yesterday with regard to Jerusalem, speak of Jerusalem as a shared capital of two states, of Israel and a future Palestinian state but based on a negotiated outcome. Israel has the full support of the European Union. There should be a negotiating process with no impositions from outside."
The President received the credentials of the following ambassadors:
- Ambassador of the Republic of Ghana, Mr. Henry Hanson-Hall
- Ambassador of the Republic of Greece, Mr. Kyriakos Loukakis
- Ambassador of the European Union, Mr. Andrew Standley
- Ambassador of the Republic of Panama, Mr. Roberto Eduardo Arango
- Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey, Mr. Ahmet Oguz Celikkol