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Peres (L) with Putin in Davos
Photo: Reuters
Peres tells Putin Russia can prevent Gaza arms smuggling
'Iran not only developing weapons of mass destruction but also providing money and weapons to Hamas and Hizbullah,' Israeli president tells Russian PM in Davos. Putin: Moscow optimistic on Gaza ceasefire and understands Israel's predicament

President Shimon Peres met Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Thursday and asked him to help prevent arms trafficking from Iran to Gaza.

  

Peres said that "Israel has learned from Russia that there are some measures a country must resort to when it has no other choice. This was the case in Gaza; it was not out of choice that we launched (the offensive), but out of necessity. We had to stop the incessant cycle of terror that harmed Israel's women and children; but nevertheless, Israel wants peace.

 

"Israel's disengagement from Gaza (2005) was carried out with the intent of offering the Palestinians an opportunity to lead good lives so we would have good neighbors, but Hamas destroyed the Palestinian economy and destroyed its own people. They killed hundreds of Fatah men in broad daylight (during the violent takeover of Gaza in July 2007) and continued to fire rockets toward Israel," the president said.

 

"As a man of peace I can clearly state that Israel had no choice but to deal the Hamas terrorists a severe blow."

 

'We have nothing against the Iranians'

Putin told Peres that Russia was following the developments in Gaza with great concern, but said Moscow was "optimistic regarding the ceasefire and understands Israel's predicament."

 

Addressing the Iranian nuclear threat, Peres said Tehran was "not only developing weapons of mass destruction but is also providing money and weapons to its terrorist offshoots, such as Hamas and Hizbullah.

 

"We have nothing against the Iranian people; we are only against its mad leadership and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who may bring about a global disaster," he said. "I have a concrete request from Russia - you have the experience, the power, and the ability to stop the long-range missile shipments from Iran to Gaza."

 

Putin responded by saying that Russia was aware of Israel's reservations regarding the Iranian nuclear program. "We are following (the issue) closely and well aware of Iran's ambitions," he said.

 

Peres said at the meeting's conclusion that "(former US President George W. Bush) got rid of one of the biggest murderers - Saddam Hussein. Had Europe done the same to Hitler, the lives of millions of innocent people would have been spared. I'm not comparing Ahmadinejad to anyone, but we do not have the privilege of ignoring such a clear and present danger." 

 

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