21 September 2010
President Shimon Peres has told the UN Millennium Development Goals summit in New York that Israel was ready to enter peace talks with Syria “straight away”. He offered to share Israeli technological advances with other nations, including countries without diplomatic ties to Israel. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Lebanese President Michel Suleiman left the UN General Assembly during Peres’ speech. Peres also denounced Ahmadinejad, telling reporters afterwards that he was “a living declaration against the charter of the UN.”
“The formal leader of Iran has said that there is no future for Israel in the Middle East,” the Israeli president told the UN delegates. “I believe that the Middle East has room for every person, every nation, every religion. I believe that every person was created in the image of the Lord, and that there is just one Lord, who calls not to hate, not to threaten, not to seek superiority, and not to kill. Israel will continue to exist, and aspire to peace with its neighbors,” he said.
Peres told the summit, which is held ahead of the high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly, that there are two “burning challenges of our time: to harness science and technology to increase food production for every child and every family, and to stand together against terror. A hungry world will never be peaceful. A terrorized world will never be governable.”
Speaking “on behalf of a small people and a tiny land,” he underscored that Israel exists despite the murder of one-third of the world’s Jewish population in the Holocaust, and seven attacks on Israel in the state’s 62-year history. Citing the on-going negotiations with the Palestinians, Peres said, “There is no other peaceful alternative” to the conflict than a two-state solution, “and I believe that we shall succeed, in spite of the difficulties. We are ready to enter into direct negotiations with Syria, right away. We are committed to the Millennium Development Goals. We share the burden of saving the world from war and hunger. Without peace, poverty will remain. Without food, peace will not prevail.”
Science, creativity and knowledge had “replaced land as the most important source of wealth,” he said, adding: “The new millennium must liberate the world from bloodshed, from discrimination, from hunger, from ignorance, from maladies.”
Peres referenced Israeli innovations in agriculture based on science, and said the nation has “the highest rate of scientists per square mile in the world. “I am confident that our path is available to everyone,” he said, referencing Israeli scientific advances. “Our experience is replicable.” He said Israel was willing to share its experience with many countries, including those with whom it does not have diplomatic relations.
Speaking to reporters after his speech, Peres called Ahmadinejad “a living declaration against the charter of the UN,” referencing the provision of the UN charter that states that a member state cannot threaten another with destruction. He calls for our destruction, and also supplies arms to every terrorist organization in the Middle East,” Peres told reporters.
Peres was also asked about Turkish President Abdullah Gül, who had canceled a meeting with Peres while in New York, citing scheduling problems. Gül, Peres said, had tried to place conditions on a meeting with him, to which Peres could not agree. However, he stressed that Israel was still “friends” with Turkey. Gül was scheduled to meet with Iran’s Ahmadinejad.
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