(Communicated by the Office of the President)
President Shimon Peres, this afternoon (Tuesday, 23 April 2013), held a
diplomatic working meeting with Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia
Margallo. During the meeting the two discussed strengthening the strategic
relations between Spain and Israel, the peace process with the Palestinians, the
situation in Syria and economic cooperation between the two countries.
President Peres began the meeting by welcoming Foreign Minister
Garcia-Margallo and said, "I wish you a hearty welcome, we appreciate your visit
which is timely, important and meaningful. The relations between Israel and
Spain are in excellent shape with trade of over $2 billion and we're working on
a new high-tech research and development agreement."
President Peres addressed the arrest of two Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists in
Spain and said, "I want to express my appreciation for your capture of two
Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists. We saw in Boston the damage two terrorist
killers can do. By capturing them you saved the lives of many innocent people
and demonstrated to terrorists that they will not be able to operate freely.
Terror has no policy, the policy of terror is only terror."
Foreign Minister Garcia-Margallo told President Peres that he met with
Mahmoud Abbas and he had asked him to convey a message to him, "We have been
involved in the peace process as friends of Israel and friends of other
countries in the area. I had a meeting with President Abbas and I felt that he
is willing to negotiate a peace process. He asked me to convey a message that he
would like to see confidence building measures regarding political prisoners and
the problem of the settlements. I transmitted to him and to the Jordanian
authorities and now to you that you can count on Spain for any help we can offer
to bring peace to this city, this city of peace."
Foreign Minister Garcia-Margallo addressed the threat of terrorism and said,
"We are very aware of what terror is, we had the first attack in 1965 and we had
in 2004 the bombing in Madrid which killed 193 Spaniards. We are fighting and
doing what we can in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Somalia and now we are also involved
in Mali which is a big threat to Europe and in particular Spain."
President Peres also addressed the importance of the peace process and the
situation in Syria and said, "Peace with the Palestinians is Israel's policy. To
overcome the remaining gaps we have to negotiate and I believe that the
Palestinian Authority and its President, President Abbas, are a partner that we
can and should negotiate with. I know that Spain is interested in the peace
process and we thank you for that. I want to also stress your 700 UNIFIL members
which are very meaningful and important in a very dangerous and complicated
situation. This is particularly true with the situation in Syria and the whole
world is concerned with the chemical weapons stockpile, it is very much on the