Peres: Israel is not Iran's enemy
Israeli President meets with his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul, who says he will not deny Iran ability to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Peres: Iran does not need nuclear energy, and is developing long-range missiles which it apparently intends to use
ANKARA - Israeli President Shimon Peres met Monday morning with the president of Turkey, Abdullah Gul, in his official residence in Ankara. During the meeting, the two spoke on a number of subjects, including the Iranian nuclear crisis, the kidnapped IDF soldiers, the Israeli Air Force raid on Syria, cooperation between the two countries, as well as the Armenian issue.
A rift between the two emerged on the Iranian issue, as Gul stated his categorical opposition to the development of nuclear weapons, but said that every country has a right to cultivate nuclear energy.
Peres replied that he knew of no country that threatened Iran and that Israel was not the enemy of Iran but that the Iranians were currently led by a man calling for the destruction of Israel. "They have no need for (nuclear) energy - they have both oil and natural gas," Peres said, further pointing out that the Iranians are developing long-range missiles, assumedly for the purpose of launching them.
Only Palestinians can stop the tragedy in Gaza
The two also discussed Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories and the separation fence, regarding which the Turkish President remarked that unilateral actions were impeding efforts to achieve peace.
Peres replied that he did not know of any unilateral steps, other than those taken by Hamas. Deeming Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert a responsible, honest man and an advocate of peace, Peres said that only the Palestinians could stop the tragedy that befell them in Gaza under the Hamas government.
Also under discussion were the recent meetings between Gul and senior officials in Iran, Syrian President Bashar Assad, and Saudi Crown Prince Sultan.
The Turkish President added that he considered a Syrian presence essential at the Annapolis Conference and that his government was currently conducting talks with other regional governments, including Damascus and Beirut.
In his meeting with Gul, Peres brought up the kidnapped IDF soldiers, calling the kidnappers "brutal people" for denying the Red Cross permission to visit the men in captivity. Gul, for his part, said that he had worked on the issue as Turkish foreign minister and that Turkey would continue to do everything in its power to obtain some sign of life from the men.