PARIS - President Shimon Peres had lunch with his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy Thursday as part of his trip to Paris.
The two leaders took part in a discussion on advancing sanctions against Iran, ways to end the diplomatic impasse, and efforts to secure the release of abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who is also a French national.
The two presidents issued a joint statement to reporters following the meeting, noting that many historical events connect Israel to France and to Europe. At the end of the speeches, Sarkozy warmly hugged Peres, noting that while everyone else grows older, Peres keeps on getting younger every day.
Sarkozy then asked his Israeli counterpart to share his secret of youth.
Sarkozy: France committed to sanctionsThe French president made it clear that his country stands by Israel's side, in line with the promise to establish a state for the Jewish people following generations of suffering.
Sarkozy also stressed that France supports the path of peace and added that there is no other solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict aside from negotiations. The establishment of a Palestinian state is a condition for Israel's security, he said.
Turning his attention to Iran, the French leader said that Tehran was conducting itself in an intolerable manner, adding that France is committed to harsh sanctions in order to curb the Iranian threat.
Peres also addressed the issue, saying that he asked his host to utilize his leadership and vigor in order to promote regional peace and noting that Sarkozy promised to offer his help in imposing sanctions on Iran. The Israeli president added that while there should be no comparison between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Nazi leader Hitler, a nation that experienced the Holocaust cannot be indifferent and silent in the face of genocide threats.