"We need to stick to present agreements. We cannot agree on something and then completely open it up again."

 President Peres meets with French FM Bernard Kouchner


President Peres welcoming FM Kouchner at the President's Residence in Jerusalem (Photo: Yair Engel)

(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)

Israeli President Shimon Peres today met with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner. The two discussed how to overcome the present freeze in negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians so as to advance the peace process. During the meeting President Peres said to Minister Kouchner, "some say the situation is catastrophic or hopeless. If there are problems we cannot hide, we must solve them. From my experience we do not have to be hysterical. We can overcome every crisis. And I think France can play a very important role." President Peres added "France can help us cement the remaining gaps and return to diplomacy." The President stressed that "time is of essence. We must make our supreme efforts to return to the negotiating table. I have the highest respect for President Mahmoud Abbas as I have for Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. Prime Minister Fayed says he wants to be like Ben Gurion, and we welcome his efforts."

French Foreign Minister Kouchner responded affirmatively to President Peres’ desire to achieve a two-state solution and offered full French support. He added that he believes this moment represents a unique opportunity to advance the peace process and therefore, it must be seized using both creativity and imagination. The Foreign Minister stressed, in similar session to President Peres and President Abbas, that a choice for peace is always a good choice.