(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)
On Sunday, May 17, 2009, President Shimon Peres attended the annual conference of the World Economic Forum on the Middle East, which convened this year in Jordan on the shores of the Dead Sea (May 15-17). The subject of the conference was "Implications of the Global Economic Crisis for the Middle East: Home-grown Strategies for Success."
President Peres addressed the hundreds of businesspeople and world leaders participating in the World Economic Forum and held a press conference for more than a hundred Arab and international media channels.
Israel President Shimon Peres and King Abdullah II at the World Economic Forum (Photo: GPO)
In the framework of the conference President Peres met with King Abdullah II of Jordan. Jordan’s prime minister, the head of the royal court and the King’s senior advisors were also present at the meeting.
President Peres told the King, "I have come to you today with a message of peace. The Israeli people want peace; the government of Israel is committed to peace." President Peres affirmed that the Israeli government has committed itself to upholding previous agreements, first and foremost the Roadmap, which includes the principle of two states for two peoples. He added that this is a decisive year for the Middle East, and that he supports the Arab initiative that will enable Israel to achieve a comprehensive peace with most of the Arab states in parallel to peace with the Palestinians.
President Peres also stated that Israel’s security is central to progress in the peace process and that there will be no compromises on that crucial issue. The President reminded his listeners that Israel evacuated the entire Gaza Strip in a difficult and painful process that has brought it, in exchange, more than 4,000 missile attacks in the last few years. "Israel cannot tolerate any more rocket fire or security threats to its citizens," he said.
The Israeli president said that, in order to renew the peace process, great gestures are needed, "a gesture such as your father, King Hussein, made when he paid a condolence call to the bereaved families who lost their daughters in the terrible murder attack in Naharayim… I cannot begin to describe to you the impression that made in Israel; we will never forget it. Like Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem – a visit that changed history. We must create hope; we must produce gestures in the Middle East."
The president reiterated Israel’s view of the value and strategic importance of its relations with the Hashemite Kingdom.
King Abdullah said to the president, "My old friend, the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians must continue, including implementation of the regional peace initiative on the basis of two states for two peoples. The peace process must go forward. Peace is in the interest of all of us; peace will open doors to broad cooperation in economic areas alongside political agreements."
At the end of the meeting, the King asked his advisors to leave the room and the two continued their talk privately. They discussed ways to advance the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians while recruiting the entire Arab world to the regional peace efforts.