MOSCOW - President Shimon Peres, who is in Moscow for a series of political talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, commented on the results of the US presidential election in a speech at the Russian Academy of Science, where he received the title of Honorary Professor.
"We have all followed the elections in the United States. What happens in Russia and the US affects the entire world. I met President Obama and I highly appreciate him. He is an extraordinary person who represents the future, cares for the welfare of his people and for world peace.
- Obama rolls to re-election over Mitt Romney
- Netanyahu: I'll continue working with Obama
- US Jews stay strongly with Obama
"The US elections were a first-class democratic event. It was a complex election campaign, but one that was fascinating to follow. I am convinced that President Obama will serve a future of peace and prosperity, and from Russia I send my full appreciation and congratulations to the American people and the elected president.
"President Obama won thanks to his record and because he represents the future. I believe that everything he promised to do will be done. Throughout the way, he was a true friend of Israel. I am convinced it will remain this way in the future. It's wasn't President Obama who changed the United States, but there is no doubt that he is taking office to serving a different America."
Moving on to the Iranian issue, Peres said that if it could be resolved by economic sanctions and political pressure and by forming a coalition, he had no doubt that Obama would prefer taking that road.
Asked by reporters whether he had been asked to run for Knesset, the president replied: "I thank the people who support me and trust in me, but these days I am serving the people and the State as I have been doing for the past five years. I will fill this role as long as it takes."
Peres was also asked whether former Premier Ehud Olmert or any other person convicted of criminal offenses should present his candidacy for prime minister, and whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not damage Israel's relationship with the US by interfering in the American election campaign.
"As a president, I don't grade anyone and respect everyone," he replied.
As for Israel's alleged intervention in the US elections, President Peres said: "There are many wise people in Israel and there are many people who think differently. I prefer to be part of the right minority than of the wrong majority."
On Thursday, Peres is expected to hold a series of meetings with Putin at the Kremlin. "Naturally, we will discuss the Iranian issue and the situation in Syria," he said. "I have ideas to voice.
"Russia opposes a nuclear Iran. The argument is about the way. Putin is looking for different ways to solve the issue. I see Russia as an important station and I am here to bolster the relations."