"Peace involves many difficulties. We must not give up. We must advance peace, since the alternative is so dangerous," President Shimon Peres told French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos Sunday evening.
During the meeting in Jerusalem, Kouchner said the Europeans want to be useful for the peace process, while Moratinos noted that their only purpose is to assist the parties. He further added there was room for optimism as both sides had signaled they wanted to overcome the obstacles.
After the meeting, the French and Spanish FMs arrived at the protest tent set up by the family of captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit and spoke with his parents, Noam and Aviva.
"These (Kouchner and Moratinos) are two key players who came to the tent to offer their support. That is significant," Noam Shalit said. "We demand that Hamas be pressured – I told them this. They said they are continuing to apply pressure, but it's not enough."
Earlier Sunday, Kouchner and Moratinos met Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who said, "I know they are both friends of Israel; they are respected on the Palestinian side and throughout the Arab world, which is why they have so much to offer".
Barak mentioned that millions of residents in the Middle East await a settlement and that it is "the ultimate responsibility of our government, without losing sight of national security, to reach a political agreement with the Palestinians and neighboring countries."
Kouchner and Moratinos are scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and opposition leader Tzipi Livni later in the evening.
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