​Speaking at the Sixth Annual Negev Conference this morning in Sderot, President Peres addressed the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, the situation in the Middle East and Israel’s relations with the United States

 President Peres opens Sixth Annual Negev Conference in Sderot


Copyright: GPO/Kobi Gideon

(Communicated by the President’s Office)
President Shimon Peres, this morning (Tuesday, 18 March 2014), opened the Sixth Annual Negev Conference in Sderot along with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Minister Silvan Shalom. President Peres said in his remarks, "I am pleased to see the government doing all it can to continue the negotiations so as the process does not collapse. I am also pleased that the US is supporting us in these talks. We are fortunate to have the alliance with the US – we should not be embarrassed to say thank you to the US for the diplomatic and security support it has and continues to offer us. We are not an isolated nation, we never were. We are a nation that seeks peace."
President Peres addressed the disagreements with the Palestinians and said, "The Palestinians are not satisfied with us and we are not satisfied with them but neither of us are satisfied with terror and war. We should all we can to be strong in security and advanced in science, I believe it is our interest to achieve full peace with the Palestinians and not to hesitate. We must base that peace upon two pillars – diplomacy and security."
President Peres also addressed relations with Egypt and said, "Israel has a major interest in seeing Egypt overcome her present difficulties. Both Israel and Egypt will struggle to guarantee peace and security, on both sides of the fence, without ongoing cooperation. There are a number of difficulties on this front, first and foremost Gaza and Sinai which have become focal points of terror. We cannot allow the Negev to become an arena for smugglers and terrorists, and so we have an interest in seeing Egypt strong and whole, and to continue to cooperate both in terms of security and diplomacy."
Addressing the complex relations in the Middle East President Peres stressed once against the importance of relations between Israel and Jordan, "Relations between Israel and Jordan were developed by all the governments." With respect to the incident at the Allenby Bridge in March President Peres added, "We still do not know for certain what happened, the incident is being investigated. Jordan is a pragmatic partner and a country that invests heavily in education, the benefits of which can be seen. King Abdullah has major achievements in this field."