In a rare event two weeks ago, President Shimon Peres
appeared before 29 foreign ministers from the Gulf States, Arab League countries and other Muslim nations. The king of Saudi Arabia's son was also among those present.
The historic event took place at the Gulf States Security Summit in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The foreign ministers of Bahrain, the UAE,
Kuwait, Oman, Yemen and Qatar were present, as well as foreign ministers from the Arab League and other Muslim countries, such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh.
Peres appeared on a video screen at the summit, sitting in his office in Jerusalem with an Israeli flag behind him.
President Shimon Peres (archives) (Photo: Noam Moskovich)
Opposite Peres were Terje-Roed Larsen, UN-Under Secretary-General, and Martin Indyk, US Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations. Larsen sat on the stage and interviewed Peres, who answered directly to Larsen and not to the Muslim foreign ministers. As agreed upon beforehand, the foreign ministers would not ask their questions and address Peres directly, and in return he would only speak with the interviewers. In addition, the organizers of the event stipulated that Peres would participate only if his words would not be revealed.
The UAE, which organized the summit, chose Peres to open the assembly, a testimony to the importance of the Israeli president during this point in time, and more so, the importance of a good relationship with Israel
against the common enemy – Iran.
When the president spoke, no minister left the room, and when he finished they even gave him a round of applause.
New York Times chief analyst Thomas Friedman, who attended the event, revealed Peres' "performance"; yet he was not tempted to disclose what Peres had said. What has been made known, however, is that the president said Israel can be a major factor in the Middle East, and that there is an opportunity for dialogue for a common goal – a struggle against radical Islamism and a nuclear
and he also talked about his vision for world peace.
"There was a lot of excitement from both sides from his appearance," a representative involved in the event said. "Everyone understood that this is something historic: The president of the Jewish State is sitting in his office in Jerusalem with an Israeli flag, and they're sitting in the Persian Gulf talking about security, war on terror and peace."
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