Photo: Mark Neiman, GPO
President Peres meets with US national security advisor Rice
Photo: Mark Neiman, GPO
Peres to visit White House in June
President stressed to US national security advisor Susan Rice that the door for peace with the Palestinians is not yet closed.

WASHINGTON - President Shimon Peres will meet with US President Barack Obama at the White House on June 25th, the White House said on Wednesday.


Peres' visit will come after US-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians ground to a halt and against the backdrop of talks between the United States and five other world powers with Iran about that country's nuclear program.


Peres met with US national security advisor Susan Rice in Jerusalem on Wednesday before broader US-Israeli security consultations, the White House said.


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"On Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Ambassador Rice reaffirmed that the only path to a lasting peace is for a secure Jewish state to exist side-by-side with a viable, independent Palestinian state," the White House said.


"There's no alternative to the two-state solution," Peres agreed. "Israel is reaching out for peace with all of its neighbors, primarily with the Palestinians."


The president also stressed that despite the crisis that brought peace talks to a halt, "the door is not yet closed. We must find the way to renew the negotiations between us and the Palestinians."


But, Peres said, Israel would not be willing to talk to Hamas unless it adhere to the principles of non-violence and recognition of the State of Israel.


"The world must pressure Hamas to accept the three conditions of the Quartet," he said. "We must make it clear to Hamas that no one will pay and fund their rockets."


The two also discussed the Iranian nuclear threat, as Tehran and the six world powers - United States, Britain, Russia, China, Germany and France - continue talks in an attempt to reach a final status agreement before the July 20 deadline.


Peres stressed that Iran will be tested on actions alone. "We need to test the Iranians' seriousness - whether they offer just words, or show that they can follow through on these words."


Peres thanked Rice for the American administration's support of Israel.


"Under President Obama's leadership, the strategic-security relations between the US and Israel have reached new heights. Israel considers President Obama as a true friend of our people and state," Peres said.


Rice returned Peres's words in kind, thanking him for his personal friendship with both herself and the president.


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