President Shimon Peres
met Friday with French President Francois Hollande following a summit with French leadership including Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.
The French president told his Israeli counterpart that he was honored to have him and that his country harbored great appreciation for Peres' promotion of peace.
Hollande also addressed Israel's new government and expressed his hope that it would work to promote peace with the Palestinians: "France stands by Israel
and the Palestinians and will assist in any way possible to promote peace. We will continue to invest in the economy of the Palestinian Authority."
Peres, Hollande (Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO)
Hollande reiterated the fact the expansion of settlement in the West Bank was a hindrance to the peace process, as Peres stressed the importance of the two-state solution, adding that he strongly believed that once Israel formed a new government, the peace process would be renewed.
Peres also commended Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in saying that he fights against terror and is a supporter of peace.
'Abu Mazen a supporter of peace,' Peres said (Photo: EPA)
As for the Iranian issue, Hollande noted that his country believed that "economic sanctions against Iran
should be aggravated."
Peres noted that the Iranians were playing a dangerous game and might miss the last change that the international community was giving them.
In response, Holland stressed that "If Iran advances the development of nuclear weapon, it will be the international community, not only Israel, that will take the responsibility to prevent it. Iran is not only a danger to Israel, but also a real danger to the countries of the Persian Gulf, to Europe and the world."
President Peres addressed the issue of Hezbollah's
status, insisting that the organization must be blacklisted as a terror group by the international community, a move which has become more pressing after Bulgaria announced that an investigation into the 2012 Burgas terror attack showed that Hezbollah was behind the bombing that took the lives of five Israelis and one Bulgarian national.
The president said that Hezbollah was ruining Lebanon
from the inside, cooperating with Assad's dictatorship in Syria,
representing Iran and continuously harboring missiles. He added that the Shiite group was executing terror attacks around the world, including on European soil, as was discovered regarding the Burgas attack.
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