President Peres addresses developments regarding Syria 11 Sept 2013

President Peres addresses developments in Syria

    American and Russian leaders are working to remove and disarm Assad's chemical weapons without war. I am convinced that if an agreement is reached it will be reliable, explicit and significant. The agreement must ensure that Assad has no chemical weapons.
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    President Shimon Peres President Shimon Peres Copyright: GPO archive photo
    Photo: GPO
    (Communicated by the Office of the President)

    This morning (11 September 2013) President Peres addressed developments regarding to Syria and said:

    "The world cannot remain silent regarding the bloodshed and murder of children that is taking place in Syria. Diplomacy is always preferable to war but the main issue at present is integrity and in particular the integrity of the Syrian regime.

    If Syria is honest and will take real steps to remove and destroy the chemical weapons in its territory, the US will not attack. If there will be a crack in Syria's integrity I have no doubt that the US will act militarily. Syria will not go back to being what it was, the war and terror have divided that country into parts, into a number of countries."

    President Shimon Peres (Wednesday, 11 September 2013) spoke at an IDF Naval Cadets graduation ceremony and addressed the turbulence in the Middle East, the situation in Syria and the renewal of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. President Peres also paid special tribute to the United States and expressed Israel's solidarity on the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

    On Israel's place in the Middle East President Peres said, "Israel is a political island in a large ocean prone to storms. The storms don't stem from Israel nor is Israel concerned with attempts to connect her to the storms because she is both strong and right. Israel is prepared to defend the island, and aims to create the conditions which will calm the sea and bring peace to her shores. Israel has achieved military might because of investment in civilian strength. We must defend our shores, the open seas and natural resources which have recently been discovered. We threaten no-one but we do not ignore the threats against us nor will we allow them to frighten us. Whoever is ready for peace – our hand is stretched out to them. Whoever attempts to attack us will pay a heavy price. Assad knows that any harm to Israel will cost him and we have proven our ability to defend ourselves from war. We have the ability to overcome terror. Terror today is like a boomerang – it harms those who us it more than it harms its targets."

    President Peres also paid tribute to the United States of America and expressed Israel's solidarity 12 years since the terror attacks of 9/11: "Today, September 11th, one of the worst terrorist crimes in history was committed. The mourning of the United States of America is also the mourning of Israel. The United States overcame that tragedy and has successfully faced the threat of terror."

    President Peres addressed the situation in Syria: "Even in these very days, under the leadership of President Obama, the United States is showing its moral and democratic weight and the strength of its military by attempting to bring an immediate end to the use of chemical weapons and to its ultimate destruction. The murder of innocents, including women and children, is a crime which cannot be ignored. It wasn't the anger over the images of dead children that affected Assad but the military threat which forced him to respond to the initiative to remove and disarm his chemical weapons.

    At this very moment American and Russian leaders are working to find a way to achieve this aim without war. Assad alone cannot be trusted to honor the agreement. I know both President Obama and President Putin and I am convinced that if an agreement is reached it will be reliable, explicit and significant. The agreement must ensure that Assad has no chemical weapons."

    President Peres addressed the peace negotiations with the Palestinians and said, "Thanks to the IDF, Israel is stronger than ever and is able, more than ever, to seek peace and security with our neighbors. I greatly appreciate the fact that the Israeli government, and Prime Minister Netanyahu, took the decision despite all the difficulties to renew the peace negotiations with the Palestinians. I pray for their success."