Peres: "This is the product of the Israeli effort, I am the humble recipient of it on behalf of the Israeli people. We have to use it to call the people to peace."
(Communicated by the Office of the President)
The President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, was honored at a unique ceremony at the World Economic Forum in Davos this morning at a ceremony attended by hundreds of business and public leaders from across the world. President Peres was awarded the Spirit of Davos award for his work in furthering peace, economics and technology in the world.
The Founder and Chairperson of the WEF, Mr. Klaus Schwab said, "A great leader in my definition has brains, he has vision, he has a soul and he has values and he has a heart which means passion and compassion. You have it and you have shown it again. In this spirit, and very exceptionally I have the great honor to give you an award for global leadership.We felt we must do something special so have a Golden Bell and the text is – President Shimon Peres a unique visionary and global statesman for tolling the bell of peace and harmony." President Peres thanked the WEF for the award and said, "This is the product of the Israeli effort, I am the humble recipient of it on behalf of the Israeli people. We have to use it in the Middle East to call the people to peace."
Before the award ceremony President Peres took part in a special plenary with Mr. Klaus Schwab during which he addressed the major issues on the agenda in the Middle East today.
When asked whether Iran is serious about giving up its nuclear weapons program, President Peres responded, ""It will be serious if they didn’t build nuclear weapons but just saying so isn’t serious. Iran doesn’t need the P5+1 to stop the nuclear program, no-one forces Iran to build nuclear missiles. No-one forces Iran to support Hezbollah, which is today the greatest killer in Syria. If Iran continues with its current actions then they will see that the world won’t accept this dangerous behavior."
President Peres also reflected on the speech given yesterday by the President of Iran at Davos, "For the time being it is only half a story, every speech has two parts – the one you declare and the one you omit. Occasionally what you omit is more important than what you announce and you asked the president of Iran, if he’s for peace with all and you got a smile, it’s nice but thats not an answer. Iran has reached this point not out of choice but out of pressure. There is pressure from the young generation in Iran and of course from the sanctions. Iran is not an enemy for us, we see no reason for confrontation. The declarations yesterday may have been promising but the omissions were so obvious."
On the peace process with the Palestinians President Peres said, "People didn’t believe we would make peace with Egypt or Jordan but we did. They didn’t believe we would start negotiations with the Palestinians but we did. There are difficulties of course but neither of us has an alternative. Israel offers in sincere terms a real peace and we are ready to offer what we can. We are a typical Middle Eastern country and we’re ready to share our knowledge."
On the situation in Syria President Peres said, "President Assad, what sort of president is he? He killed 130,000 people, hundreds of thousands are in hospitals, 3 million refugees. Why does Iran support him? Why do they send Hezbollah to kill? The external forces bring confrontations not solution. The solution will come from within. The chemical weapons deal is an important achievement but I believe the young Arab generation will provide the solution, we can all help but we can’t be the major player."
Summary of President Peres’ meetings and events at the World Economic Forum in Davos