Austrian FM to Pres. Peres: Austria will work towards advancing sanctions against Iran within the U.N. Security Council.
(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)
Israeli President Shimon Peres held a work meeting today with Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger. Over the course of the meeting the two discussed Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the peace process with the Palestinians, the state of affairs with Syria, relations with the European Union, and other bilateral issues on the agenda.
President Peres stated at the beginning of the meeting that "the overriding problem today is that of Iran. It’s a shadow upon the lights of the countries in the Middle East. And if Iran will not stop to develop its nuclear capacities it means that in a very short time we will have a nuclear Middle East with old conflicts and nuclear bombs. It’s the worst combination."
The president added that "Ahmadinejad is today a military dictator. They hang people in the streets, they shoot at the demonstrators unarmed, they support terroristic organization in full daylight, and they threaten to destroy a country. And he goes around like one of the members of the club [of responsible countries]."
Later during the meeting the President said that "a clearer, more conscious voice must come from the western countries. We cannot allow Iran to continue operating with such moral disregard." The President declared that "by taking so long to form a coalition, the western countries demonstrate their weakness, thereby threatening itself and all the free world."
The Austrian Foreign Minister responded in agreement: "Iran is the most important issue. Also in the European Union we understand that after Ahmadinejad’s most recent declarations we have to react. There is no other way."
The Foreign Minister then added that as a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council Austria will work towards advancing sanctions against Iran and expects that the council will begin to discuss effective sanctions with no delay. The Foreign Minister also said that at the same time Austria will advance discussion on U.N. sanctions through the framework of the European Union.
The President thanked the Foreign Minister for Austria’s clear stance on Iran and said that immediate action is critical to avoid repeating mistakes made in the past.
The Foreign Minister, who arrived two days ago in Israel, updated the President that he will travel next to Syria and Lebanon. The President asked him to deliver the following message: "Tell Syria not to listen to Iran’s advice regarding Israel. Israel has no intention of going to war. You can also tell them our clear position – that we are willing to begin direct peace negotiations with no preconditions. We are ready for peace – not peace and war, not peace and Hizbullah."