Ashton to Peres: "I Came to Support Peace"

EU Foreign Policy chair Catherine Ashton in Israel for meeting with Peres. "I wish only good for your country Israel."

Elad Benari,

Shimon Peres and Caherine Ashton
Shimon Peres and Caherine Ashton
Arutz Sheva photo: GPO

President Shimon Peres met Sunday with the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union, Catherine Ashton. The two discussed issues related to advancing the peace process in the region, the changes that have occurred in the Middle East and ways to strengthen ties between Israel and the EU.

In statements they made to the press prior to their meeting, Peres told Ashton, “Welcome, we attribute great importance to your visit at this time.”

Peres added, “We need to work around the clock and take advantage of every opportunity to go back to the negotiating table to avoid the Palestinians unilaterally declaring statehood, something which I believe is a great error because there is no substitute for direct negotiations between the two sides.”

In response Ashton said, “It is a great honor to see you again. I’m always representing 27 EU member states and I come here with the same message, and that is to wish only good for your country Israel. I came to show support for a process that will lead us to talks to find a solution for a lasting peace that will allow the people of this country to live peacefully.”

Ashton also referred to the recent terror attacks near Eilat and to the 25th birthday of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit which was marked on Sunday.

“Mr. President, I met you knowing that it has been a hard week," Ashton said. "There were terror attacks and I know that today is Gilad Shalit’s 25th birthday. I hope that he will be released from captivity well before his next birthday and my thoughts are with his parents tonight.”

After making the statements, the two held a private closed-door meeting.