Peres, world leaders at Moscow ceremony
Photo: Mark Neiman, GPO
President Shimon Peres, in Russia Sunday for ceremonies marking the 65th anniversary of the Nazi defeat, met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and asked him to convey a message of peace to his Syrian counterpart.
Peres asked Medvedev to tell Bashar Assad during their scheduled meeting Monday that "Israel is not interested in heating up the border, and war is the last thing we want".
"We are reaching our hand out for peace with Syria, but peace cannot exist without a basic condition: You cannot reach a hand out for peace while continuing to support terror groups," Peres said, explaining that "Israel has no other interpretation for the transfer of arms from Syria to Hezbollah. The transfer of long-range, precise missiles to the organization is an incitement to war."
Syrian leader says Israel not ready for peace, Damascus seeks to prevent regional war
Peres said Israel had learned its lesson from the withdrawal from Gaza, which immediately became a hotbed of ammunition.
"Many leaders in Israel have promised the Syrians a withdrawal from the Golan Heights for peace, but the Syrians have thwarted all moves. The Syrians need to know they cannot have the Golan if on those mountains Iranian-made missiles and bombs will be planted. Syria needs to quit being an Iranian satellite," he said.
'China can restrain Iran'
Earlier, following a victory march through the Red Square, Medvedev held a reception for world leaders. Peres was surprised to be seated at the forefront, along with the leaders of the world's superpowers.
During the reception Peres spoke with Chinese President Hu Jintao, and explained to him that "Iran is a negative voice in the Middle East, which rocks the earth with murder and terror".
He asked Hu to promote sanctions against the republic. "China has the power to restrain Iran. You have the ability to restrain its destructive power," he said.
Later Peres spoke to reporters, saying that the battle against Iran was not merely one of sanctions, but one of value. "I told the Chinese leader – how is it that we do not act against a leader who… calls to destroy a people and a state?" he said.
Peres also told Hu Israel only had a few months to make the proximity talks with the Palestinians work. "You can be certain Israel is aiming for real peace," he told him.
The president reiterated this statement to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who told him her country would support Israel in the talks. Peres also met with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and the leaders of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.