Israeli President Shimon Peres and British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, held important talks on Wednesday discussing everything from the Middle East Peace process to the issues surrounding the possible arrests of senior Israeli officials upon their arrival in the United Kingdom
Jerusalem - President Shimon Peres of Israel and the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, William Hague, held a critical meeting Wednesday that encompassed a formal meeting with the press as well as a lengthy private discussion between the two .. The two focused the meeting upon the strengthening of bilateral relations, advancing the peace process with the Palestinians and overall regional stability within the Middle East.
A joint statement by the two addressed the Iranian nuclear issue as applied to the global terror scale: "The Iranians are not only on a path to developing nuclear weapons, but are also maintaining themselves as the center of global terrorism."
The statement continued: "It is always possible to find some connection between Iran and the things that happen in Lebanon, Yemen and other countries. Iranian aggressiveness, strong financial means and an overall disrespec for the law all contribute to regional instability." The two concluded that the world must come together to counter these threats and instabilities.
The Israeli President continued by stressing the need for all nations of the world to make sure that the wrong technological and scientifc information does not fall into the wrong hands as this would only make things more uncontrolable.
Using the Gaza Strip as an example, Peres noted the difficulties democratic nations face in dealing with the threats eminating from those that have gone against respecting the need for democracy. "From time to time, nations respecting the law meet others that do not and this is a major problem," Peres commented. "I know there are strong criticisms of Israel; however, many of those criticisms not only de-legitimize Israel, rather they serve to legitimize terror. This is the same story that applies to Gaza and Hamas."
"The problem of Gaza is not Israel, but Hamas, " he concluded.
At the outset of the meeting, Mr. Hague explained to Mr. Peres that, "Britain is closely following the developments in Iran and its attempts to get nuclear weapons, as well as constantly monitoring developments in Sudan, Yemen and Lebanon. There are many issues which we must be very active as members of the UN Security Council in order to avoid future conflict."
The British Secretary of State furthered added that developments across the region must be addressed while discussing the peace process.
During the meeting, Peres also raised the the issue regarding the threats of arrests and/or extradition of senior Israeli officials upon their arrival to Britain. The President made it clear that Israel will not live with these attempts to carry out arrests on UK territory.
Hague, in his response said that the issue is itself that of a general nature and is not directly related to Israel. He added that possible legislation was being discussed in the coming weeks with the goal of negating the issue completely.
[Images provided by Amos Ben Gershom]