"Proximity talks are clearly both necessary and within Israel’s interests – Israel wants an independent, successful, affluent Palestinian state."

 President Peres meets with Danish FM Lene Espersen

 

(Photo: Yosef Avi Yair Angel)

(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)

President Peres met this morning (2 May 2010) with Denmark’s Foreign Minister, Ms. Lene Espersen. At the start of the meeting the President expressed his satisfaction that proximity talks will commence very shortly between Israel and the Palestinians: "proximity talks are clearly both necessary and within Israel’s interests – Israel wants an independent, successful, affluent Palestinian state." The President added that "Israel is prepared to overcome the obstacles present in negotiations. The gaps between the two sides are narrow and we are interested in an independent Palestinian state living side by side with Israel. Israel itself chose the two-state solution and thus we offer our hand in peace to all our neighbors."

The President thanked the Foreign Minister for the warmth and generosity Denmark has demonstrated toward Israel. Moreover, he thanked her personally for her sharp and clear voice – whether in the European Union or the United Nations – on the Iranian threat and the need to impose harsh economic sanctions. 

On a similar note, the President stated that Israel is observing with "open eyes" the smuggling of arms and missiles between North Korea, Iran, Syria, and Lebanon. The President said that to his displeasure, "North Korea has become a duty free for long-range missiles and nuclear weapons. These weapons flow straight to Iran who arms and strengthens the world’s global terror network including Hizbullah in Lebanon and other groups in Syria." 

The President addressed the smuggling of Scud missiles from Syria to Lebanon and stated: "Israel is certain that long-range, accurate Scud missiles are being smuggled from Syria into Lebanon – Syria must stop acting one way and speaking another way. Their support for terror can no longer be hidden."

Denmark’s Foreign Minister responded that Denmark sees in Israel as a true friend: "There has always been a very strong bilateral relationship with Israel and our history goes back a long time to our friendship during the Second World War." The Foreign Minister added that "I must admit that I always, as a private person, believed very strongly in democracy, and therefore of course, understand all the problems that Israel has faced being a democratic country and facing a lot of security challenges." She also stated that Denmark sees no downside to the two-state solution and therefore supports it and hopes to see progress quickly. 

On the issue of Iran, the Foreign Minister said the international community must present a clear and united front against Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Specifically, she added that Denmark has been working within the context of the European Union and the United Nations Security Council to impose harsh economic sanction against the Iranian regime. It is within everyone’s interest to isolate Iran, said the Foreign Minister, and that doing so will benefit the entire world, not just Israel.

President Peres responded that in addition to harsh economic sanctions the world must raise a clear moral cry to isolate the Iranian leadership which sponsors corruption, terrorism, and murder. "Even the Iranian people are ashamed of their representatives," stated the President who added his dissatisfaction with the international community’s silence despite clear evidence of misdeeds, such as the Iranian Defense Minister who has been linked to the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aries.