(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)
President Shimon Peres, this afternoon (Tuesday, 9 April 2013), met with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird. The two held a diplomatic working meeting on the strategic relations between Israel and Canada, the Iranian nuclear threat and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. At the beginning of the meeting the two delivered short statements to the press.
President Peres began by welcoming Minister Baird, "It's a pleasure to have you here, we consider Canada and her leaders to be among our closest friends and I want to thank you for an outstanding friendship which is based not only on interests but on profound values. We appreciate the ongoing support of the Canadian government, and the Prime Minster. On all occasions, in all domains and with every opportunity your government took a clear and courageous position including a very clear position vis-à-vis the greatest danger of our time, Iran."
President Peres also addressed Canada's role in the peace process and expressed his hope that Canada can play a role going forward also, "Canada also played a role in the peace process which when we started had two levels of negotiations; binational and multinational. Canada chaired the multinational committee dealing with the issues of refugees. Canada was full of ideas and ingenuity for how to solve this complicated problem and won the trust of all sides in that matter. I hope Canada can once again play a role in the peace process. Thank you for what you are, what you represent and the deep friendship to Israel."
Foreign Minister Baird thanked President Peres in both French and English and said, "It's a real privilege to be here on behalf of all Canadians but especially our delegation. Few people in the world can say they helped build their country and helped guide it through such a great economic and social success. It's a tremendous honor."
During the meeting the President Peres and Foreign Minister Baird discussed ways to progress the peace process and President Peres raised the issue of Canadian involvement in the refugee issue. The two also discussed the wider diplomatic and security situation in the region and the Iranian nuclear threat.
In his welcome statement President Peres also addressed the Jewish community in Canada and said, "I am glad that we have an exceedingly warm Jewish community in Canada. I know the relations between the community and the government in Canada are excellent and that they're devoted to Israel."