President Shimon Peres attends and speaks at the World Economic Forum currently being held in Jordan. Together with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah II, the three are participating in a plenum titled "Breaking the Impasse."
In his speech, President Peres said there is "no country, no leader that we consider an enemy," adding "President Abbas, you are our partner, and we are yours. We can and should make the breakthroughs." Peres is representing Israel on the last day of the WEF conference held in the Hashemite Kingdom.
- In Jordan, Peres calls for return to peace talks
- Minister Landau: 1967 borders are 'Auschwitz borders'
- Peres: Peace to prevail by Israel's 70th birthday
Palestinian President Abbas thanked the forum in his speech, saying that he was pleased to be part of a conference of "Palestinian and Israeli businessmen who realized that the basis of any negotiation is based in the two state-solution."
Peres, Kerry, Abass (Photo: Reuters)
Abbas stressed that the Palestinian Authority wants "to live in peace and security alongside the state of Israel," adding "We want two states. Not a single state."
"Do we want to live in a permanent Intifada?" Secretary of State John Kerry asked, adding that for both Palestinians and Israelis, "the greatest existential threat and the greatest economic threat is the lack of peace."
Peres with King Abdullah II (Photo: Mark Neuman, GPO)
Kerry said he believes a plan is emerging that could expand the Palestinian economy by up to 50 percent in the next three years. The plan could also cut unemployment by almost two-thirds and average wages could jump 40 percent he said. But Kerry also said the move depended on parallel progress on peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Kerry has been working with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and global business leaders to devise economic plans to revitalize the Palestinian economy. There were few specific details offered.
Nonetheless, Kerry called the plan "transformative" and "different than anything we've done before." Kerry acknowledged the plan offers a very optimistic vision for a region that has suffered through decades of conflict, and where peace prospects remain dim, but he insisted: "We know it can be done." He also said Netanyahu and Abbas support the plan.
Regarding peace itself, Kerry added that "No one is talking about temporary borders. We are talking about an end-of-conflict peace."
The conference is held under the headline: "Advancing Conditions for Growth and Resilience," and focuses, among other subjects, on the economic challenges faced by regional leaders two years after the Arab Spring.
The conference includes more than 800 participants from some 60 countries, among them 430 participants from the Middle East.
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop