President Peres applauded Sarkozy for his consistent stance against Iran.

 President Peres meets with French President Sarkozy


(Photo: GPO)

(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)

President Shimon Peres and French President Nicolas Sarkozy met today at Élysée Palace. The two met over lunch with a limited group to discuss the advancement of sanctions against Iran, the current political freeze in negotiations, and the release of the captured soldier Gilad Shalit.
During joint remarks given to the press the President Sarkozy began by stating: Countless historic events connect Israel to France and Europe. Europe stands by Israel in its loyalty to the promise of granting the Jewish people a nation after their suffering over previous generations. We support the way of peace. There exists no solution besides negotiations between the parties. The parameters for peace are clear, so we should not waste time.
President Sarkozy added: Everyone knows how much I respect and honor President Peres. The President knows that he can depend on France as a staunch ally with which Israel shares deep connections. We seek the resumption of negotiations and the establishment of an independent, viable Palestinian state. This condition will also ensure the security of Israel… Peace will prevail between Israelis and Palestinians despite the conflict, which affects all of us by nurturing extremism and terrorism. On Iran, the French President stated: Iranian actions are unacceptable and we are committed to crippling sanctions that can deter its nuclear ambitions.
During the meeting, President Sarkozy updated President Peres on recent developments towards imposing sanctions on Iran. The French President had just returned from his visit to the United States for the Nuclear Security Summit. President Sarkozy emphasized France’s commitment to accelerate the process of imposing sanctions.

At the end of the meeting, President Sarkozy hugged President Peres and added a note of humor: All of us age and only President Peres grows younger day by day. If we are such close friends, then tell me your secret.
President Peres said, "I thank the French President for the lunch and warm friendship. In my opinion the French state, people, and leaders helped Israel during its most difficult and dangerous periods. I have asked President Sarkozy to take advantage of his leadership and energy to advance peace in our region and he has answered positively. He has promised to assist in enacting crippling sanctions against Iran to prevent it from attaining nuclear weapons."
President Peres pointed out to President Sarkozy that the trust between Israel and the Palestinians has been damaged, yet that Israel continues to present an open hand for peace and has adopted the principle of two states for two people.
The Israeli President emphasized that the differences between the two sides have shrunk. Israel has encouraged the growth and development of the Palestinian economy. In addition, there exists no downside to returning to the negotiating table as quickly as possible.
On the issue of Iran, the President stated that he does not equate Hitler with Ahmadinejad, yet his calls for the extermination of a nation do not pass quietly over a people who experienced the Holocaust. President Peres applauded Sarkozy for his consistent stance against Iran, and for his intensive attempt at the Nuclear Security Summit to enact sanctions. He also detailed for the French President his beliefs on how to advance and resolve the issues which stand at the heart of the conflict and negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. The two agreed to increase France’s participation alongside the United States in advancing regional peace and economic projects.

The two also discussed the captivity of Gilad Shilat and President Sarkozy stated that since Gilad Shalit is a French citizen, as the President of France he is interested in advancing his release.