President Peres meets with French FM Fabius 25 Aug 2013

President Peres meets with French FM Fabius

    Peres: The time has come for a joint effort to remove all the chemical weapons from Syria. They cannot remain there either in the hands of Assad or of others.
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    President Peres meets with French FM Fabius President Peres meets with French FM Fabius Copyright: GPO/Mark Neiman
    Photo: GPO/Mark Neiman
    (Communicated by the Office of the President)

    President Shimon Peres, this morning (Sunday, 25 August 2013), at his residence in Jerusalem, met with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who is visiting the region in light of the resumption of peace talks in order to express his support for peace efforts.

    President Peres welcomed Mr. Fabius to Israel and said, "Your voice has been the clearest in recent days concerning the situation in Syria and I wish to express my appreciation for your clarity and courage. There were terrible things in the past but here is a ruler that kills his people with the most terrible means and without any consideration. The use of chemical weapons to kill hundreds of women and children and the cries of the girl begging her father to come and save her is a cry to which we cannot remain indifferent.

    I can understand the problems and the doubts but the moral call is superior to any strategic considerations. The time has come for a joint effort to remove all the chemical weapons from Syria. They cannot remain there either in the hands of Assad or of others. In addition to everything else needed to stop this massacre there must be an international attempt to take out the weapons. It is very complicated and it is very expensive but it is more dangerous and more expensive to leave it there. It must be done."

    President Peres also addressed the developments in the peace talks and said, "In order to make peace there must be a major effort to overcome skepticism. The fact is that despite the skepticism negotiations opened and it wasn't easy for either side. Secretary Kerry played an important role, the Prime Minister of Israel and his government took a courageous decision, Abu Mazen took an important decision and his latest comments were helpful.

    The world justifies optimism as well; history is the march of the optimist. We have to create a positive atmosphere to encourage the peace process, if I can think of a period of opportunity to move ahead, it is now. The position of Abu Mazen has improved, he knows it and it helps him. I think the Prime Minister decided to move and he moved. Peace is not easy but if we achieve it then we will be able to turn our attention to the tragic and existential issues of the Middle East."

    Foreign Minister Fabius thanked President Peres for his welcome and said, "I am here for a short visit as a friend of Israel, a friend of the Palestinians and a friend of peace. Like you, I believe the time has come to make peace and I welcome your efforts, the efforts of Prime Minister Netanyahu, of Abu Mazen and of Secretary of State Kerry.

    Peace is within reach, it depends on willingness and I believe it is there on both sides. So many dramatic things are taking place in the region – Syria, Lebanon, how under those circumstances can we make peace? But we must think in the opposite way, because of those things peace is even more important in the region and we must make the most of this moment."

    Foreign Minister Fabius addressed the situation in Syria and said, "I have already spoken clearly about the use of chemical weapons and Assad's regime. We must respond strongly to these events. All the leaders must reach the appropriate response but it is unthinkable that once what happened is proven and those responsible identified there will not be a strong response by the international community. If the international community fails to act following the events in Syria then the people of the world will wonder who can be trusted, on whom can we depend."