President Peres to the Iranian leadership:
"There is an opportunity to solve this issue diplomatically. It is in your hands. Reject terrorism. Stop the nuclear program. Stop the development of long-range missiles."
President Peres on the peace process:
"While the peace process is difficult and complicated, we shall not give up. We shall not postpone it. We shall continue negotiations until a peaceful solution is reached. We negotiate because we disagree. We negotiate to convert disagreement into an agreement."
The President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, delivered a speech before a plenary session of the Mexican Senate. President Peres addressed the major challenges, threats and opportunities facing Israel and the international community including the Iranian nuclear threat, the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians and the importance of strengthening Mexican-Israeli relations.
President Peres addressed the Iranian leadership and the people of Iran and said they have an obligation to end their race for nuclear weapons and abide by the international agreement, "There are countries that try to take advantage of this transition (in the Middle East). And attempt to overpower other countries and stop their march to the new age. They do it by building nuclear threats, centers of terror, tongues of hatred. Iran has signed an interim agreement with the P5+1. Success or failure of the deal will be judged by results, not by words. As far as Israel is concerned, we do not consider the Iranian people our enemies. We do not share a border. We do share a common history. It demonstrates that we can be friendly. There is an opportunity to solve this issue diplomatically. It is in your hands. Reject terrorism. Stop the nuclear program. Stop the development of long-range missiles. Israel like the rest of the international community prefers a diplomatic solution. But the international community will not tolerate a nuclear Iran. No one threatens Iran. When Iran will cease to threaten others, it will liberate itself from the burden which it has brought upon itself. I truly hope that this deal will free the Iranian people from being a source of menace and will turn it into a contributing nation for peace. Only time will tell. Israel extends its hand in peace to all its neighbors. But we have learned from bitter experience to beware of tyrants. Tyranny has no message for the future. It offers dark nights instead of enlightened days. The real promise of progress lies in the employment of science and technology by a society which seeks justice and peace."
President Peres also addressed the attempts to make a breakthrough in the peace talks with the Palestinians and said, "As far as Israel is concerned, our greatest challenge today is to bring an end to the conflict with the Palestinians. We restarted negotiations with the Palestinians. It is a serious attempt to bring it to a successful conclusion. Peace will open new vistas, both to us and the Palestinians. Each of us – regardless of ethnicity and religion – was created equal in the image of the Lord. And has an equal chance to become better. We were not born to rule over other people. We have no ambition to control land which is not ours. We have shown it in fact when we made peace with Egypt and peace with Jordan. We returned to them all their land and assets which fell in our hands as a result of wars which we didn't initiate. This peace withstands the storms in our region. Our negotiations with the Palestinians twenty years ago were opened in Oslo. We were first to recognize the Palestinians as a people. As an opening, we agreed with the Palestinians that they will have autonomy as a first step. Gradually, they would become an independent state, living side by side with the State of Israel. Later on we decided unilaterally to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, leaving it to the independent control of the Palestinians. Unfortunately, the Hamas organization forced the Palestinian Authority out and turned the Strip into a launching pad, firing missiles against Israeli civilians. There is no reason for it. It is without purpose. It became a setback for all peace-loving people, on both sides. It interrupted the peace process and it produced a warning that if it should continue likewise in the West Bank, it may bring face the same unfortunate results. I think the entire international community, has to call upon the Hamas in Gaza to stop terror and permit peace. While the peace process is difficult and complicated, we shall not give up. We shall not postpone it. We shall continue negotiations until a peaceful solution is reached. We negotiate because we disagree. We negotiate to convert disagreement into an agreement. To turn hostility into friendship. To convert conflict into goodwill. While we are still negotiating, we have already an agreement for the basis of the solution: the two state solution. Two states for two peoples. Living side by side in peace. The opening has happened and the solution is agreed upon. What we have to do is build a bridge between the two."
President Peres addressed relations with Mexico and said, "We salute your leadership, your spirit of innovation, your readiness to take off and fulfill untapped potentials. We have come here as friends in the hopes to create joint initiatives based on Mexican goodwill and Israeli goodwill. I believe that through wide-ranging and daring collaboration, we shall benefit from the fruits of friendship. As I stand before the highest democratic institution of Mexico, I wish to express my high regard for this esteemed democratic forum. Your Senate is a leading force to offer freedom, justice and prosperity to your peoples, to your neighbors, and to the rest of the world. We are delighted to be your friends, and wish to be your partners in depth, height, and progress."
Earlier in the day President Peres opened the 'Israel-Mexico Business Forum which included 500 Israeli and Mexican companies.
Photo Mark Newman GPO