"We must press forward and get back on the negotiations track, because there is no other alternative."

 President Peres meets with US Mideast envoy George Mitchell

 

Photo: GPO

(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)

On Wednesday evening (20 January) Israeli President Shimon Peres met with the United States special envoy to the Middle East, Senator George Mitchell. They discussed how to advance the peace process between Israel and its neighbors, and various issues on the regional agenda.

Mitchell, who arrived in Israel after visits to Syria and Lebanon, started out by saying he is well aware of the problems facing the peace process between Israel and its neighbors, and that the Obama administration intends to work on finding a solution to those problems. "President Obama has presented his overall vision of peace for the Middle East, which includes Israel and the Palestinians, Israel and Syria, Israel and Lebanon, and the normalization of relations between Israel and all of its neighbors." Mitchell added, "I share your estimation of the gravity of the situation and the importance of the goal that is the reason for our meeting. I came to hear your ideas for advancing the process. That is my intention here today and I am looking forward to hearing your recommendations on the subject."

President Peres told his guest at the onset of the meeting that he "knows that the path to peace is laden with problems, and your visit here is crucial. Yet despite the statements being made lately, we must press forward and get back on the negotiations track, because there is no other alternative." The president added that he hopes the process will resume shortly, since time is of the essence, emphasizing that some people wish to ruin what has already been accomplished. He thanked Mitchell and told him that "Israel appreciates your vision and your efforts."