President Peres: "Israel trusts that Russia will act to frustrate the vote to adopt the Goldstone Report in Geneva and to prevent Iran from getting nuclear capabilities."

 President Peres meets with Russian Deputy PM Zubkov


(Photo: Jini/Emil Salman)

(Communicated by the Spokesperson of the Office of the President)

President of Israel Shimon Peres, met this morning (1 October) for an extended meeting with Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov. At the beginning of the meeting, President Peres stated that Israel is closely following the P5+1 talks with Iran that began today in Geneva, as well as tomorrow’s expected vote in the Human Rights Council on the Goldstone Report.

The President emphasized that Israel trusts that Russia will maintain its position, as expressed by President Medvedev and Premier Putin, that Russia opposes Iran possessing nuclear weapons. The President added that Russia, as a country with many years of experience in fighting terrorism, is well aware that adopting the conclusions of the Goldstone Report would reward and strengthen terrorism, stating that "the war against terrorists is neither esthetic nor pleasant. Terrorists target civilian populations and there is no alternative to an all-out fight against terrorism. That is how we acted against Hamas in Gaza, that is how we acted against Hizbullah in Lebanon and that is how we halted the rockets and the attacks on civilians. When making peace, risks must be taken, while adopting the Goldstone Report will make it difficult for Israel to take the security risks necessary for peace, necessary for going forward." 

President Peres also stated, "I ask: do not give a prize to terrorism and do not give weapons to Iran, even if that weapon is an anti-aircraft weapon, as everything flows from Iran to the terror organizations in Lebanon and Gaza, and that harms Israel. Iranian aggression supports Hamas and Hizbullah and we would greatly appreciate it if Russia would act, in the existing frameworks, to foil Iran’s intentions."

First Deputy Prime Minister Zubkov told the President: "I send you warm regards from President Medvedev and Premier Putin. Russia and Israel maintain close contact in the political sphere, a relationship that was strengthened after your last visit in Russia. The whole world knows how Russia considers terrorism. Terrorism has no nationality and we destroyed the terrorists in our territory, we continue to destroy them and will do so in the future. That is why Russian President Medvedev and Premier Putin speak as one and with determination against terrorism, as well as against Iran possessing nuclear weapons."

The Deputy Prime Minister gave President Peres a message, according to which Russia is interested in significantly expanding the advancement of the joint Israel-Russia agricultural-economic project, which was agreed upon between Presidents Peres and Medvedev at their last meeting. At that time, it was decided to turn Russia into the world’s largest food provider through the use of advanced Israeli agricultural technology. The goal is to sign a series of agreements that will facilitate the establishment of the largest joint agricultural-technological-economic system to fight world hunger, which will cause an acute shortage of food and water in another decade.

Deputy Prime Minister Zubkov noted; "I had an extensive meeting with my colleague, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Avigdor Liberman. I have not held such a productive meeting for many years. We are interested in actions, and therefore, I sent a clear directive to the ministries in Russia to prepare the legal groundwork for wide-ranging cooperation with Israel. In December, the first meeting of the complete Israel-Russia joint economic committee will take place. Early in 2010, a large business forum will take place in Moscow, between Israeli and Russian businesspersons and heads of companies, with the goal of immediately starting to enact widespread cooperation with Israel."

President Peres thanked his visitor and noted that this project will be called "Food for Peace." It will be a joint effort that will combine Russia’s great size, with one-sixth of the world’s lands and one-third of its water supplies, and the small size of Israel, which has led it to depend on advanced technology and to base its splendid agriculture on hi-tech.

President Peres concluded that: "There is no doubt that your visit, at the present time, ensures that our talks will not be summarized in a protocol that will lay forgotten in an archive."