Israel's President Shimon Peres has said that the peace agreements between his country and Egypt and Jordan "stand the test of time" as he described Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as a "partner".
Speaking at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in Jordan over the weekend, Peres said, "Despite the many hurdles on the way to peace, we must never lose sight of the positive developments in our region." Making his comments about the Israel-Egypt and Israel-Jordan peace agreements, Peres added that the only enemies are the enemies of peace. "The Iranian people are not our enemies. It is the Iranian regime's policy which is a threat to us all."
He described the Palestinians as Israel's neighbours and called on his Palestinian counterpart to sit down for negotiations. "We and our Palestinian neighbours must return to negotiations as soon as possible and bring peace. President Abbas, you are our partner and we are yours. You share our hopes and efforts for peace, and we share yours."
Peres referred to the Arab Peace Initiative as a "strategic opportunity" before adding, "War is not inevitable. Peace is inevitable." The two-state solution, he insisted, is common ground: "A two state solution: a Jewish state, Israel, and an Arab state, Palestine, living side by side in peace, dignity and freedom."
This is the time, the Israeli president concluded, for leaders to say yes to a future of peace. "Our leaders must overcome the difficulties and the dangers, and lead their peoples to a better tomorrow."