European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana met Thursday morning with Shimon Peres at the president's Jerusalem residence. Peres, who was expected to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later in the day, presented his own creative solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Peres meets Solana (Photo: AP)
Peres was perhaps attempting to soften the clash over the "two states for two people" principle, which is at the focus of the international pressure on Israel ahead of Netanyahu's upcoming diplomatic speech on Sunday.
"Basically, we can use the second stage of the Road Map – a Palestinian state with temporary borders, under the promise that this would not be the end of the negotiations and the temporary borders would be placed with permanent ones," the president said.
Solana clarified that the EU saw eye-to-eye with the United States in regards to the firm stance presented by President Barack Obama over the diplomatic demands from Israel. He said that the Europeans and the Americans discussed the issue on a daily basis, and expressed his hope that the Israeli government would contribute to the creation of a new reality in the region.
Peres meets Solana (Photo: AP)
At the start of the meeting the two discussed recent developments in the Middle East, including the results of the Lebanese elections and Friday's presidential elections in Iran, which were defined by Peres as "a real window for a new stage".
Solana responded by saying that he hoped Prime Minister Netanyahu's address on Sunday would include the elements to create a window of possibilities in order to us the advantages discussed by Peres. He added that it was important to maintain continuity on the way to peace and stability in the region.
The EU official also said that the regional component for a solution could develop from the Arab peace initiative, which he said had a good mechanism for this goal.
'Ahmadinejad set off an alarm'Addressing the upcoming elections in Iran, Peres said that "Ahmadinejad contributed quite a lot to a split in the Middle East, by demonstrating an unhealthy appetite to control. By doing this, he set off an alarm among Arab countries, which have suddenly developed a new approach and proportion, according to which Israel is not necessarily on the negative side, but rather on the positive one.
"Everyone understood that the real problem is on the part of Iran. Perhaps this will also help the Palestinian side by creating greater cooperation on the part of Arab countries."
As for the second point of disagreement between Israel and the international community, the issue of settlement, the president explained that "a population growth does not lead to an economic growth".
"A growth in economy does not depend on the size of lands, but is based on innovations in science and technology. Even is things reach the settlements, as I see it, the Israeli government has committed to not building new ones and has committed to dismantling 22 or 23 illegal outposts. The issue we have yet to agree on is the natural growth, and we must sit down and resolve the issue."