(Communicated by the Office of the President)
President Shimon Peres, this afternoon (Monday, 22 April 2013), at his
Jerusalem residence, held a diplomatic-security working meeting with US
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.
At the beginning of the meeting President Peres made clear that Israel has
full faith in the Obama administration and its deep concern for the security of
the State of Israel, "I want really to congratulate you on becoming Secretary of
Defense of America. It’s a key role to tackle the most pressing security
President Peres addressed the Iranian nuclear threat and said, "President
Obama spoke very clearly; you said the same thing. I have the full trust in your
position, your seriousness because we understand that Iran is not just a threat
to Israel but to the whole world. Your visit is a message to Iran not to do it,
that Iran has a choice. If it can be achieved by diplomatic means then that is
better but if diplomacy won't be enough then all options are on the table.
Nobody threatens Iran and so why did they choose to become a threat to
President Peres concluded by saying, "We can and we should make peace, we can
and we should help other people to overcome their existential problems and we
can prevent the Iranians from making a catastrophe for their own sake and for
the rest of the world."
Secretary Hagel thanked President Peres and said, "I bring you greetings from
President Obama, he asked me convey to you how much he appreciated his visit
here and his time with you. You have framed the realities of the world that we
live in. You've done more than that you've described the reasons for much of
this chaos and turmoil and it's now up to the world of today to take that
reality and shape something out of it." Secretary Hagel added that, "I spent two
hours touring the North with Mr. Yaalon touring the north with a helicopter.
I've been in those areas during my many visits but I've never seen it the way
that the minister has it laid out for me along the border. When you have that
experience it really does shape the kind of challenges and the kind of world
Israel's living with and living in."
Secretary Hagel finished with a smile by wishing President Peres a happy
birthday and said, "I want to wish you an early birthday, I know you have a
birthday coming up. Maybe I'll send you some Omaha steak or some corn from