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Peres in Mexico: Peace is Possible

"Peace is urgent but possible as well," says ever optimistic Israeli president during trip to Mexico.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/28/2013, 2:14 AM

President Shimon Peres and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto
President Shimon Peres and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto
Flash 90

President Shimon Peres, ever the optimist, said Wednesday that peace with the Palestinian Authority (PA) was urgent and possible amid faltering negotiations between the two sides.

Peres, speaking during a visit to Mexico City, said he welcomed the new round of talks, revived in July with the aim of reaching an agreement within nine months, according to AFP.

"We weren't born to be enemies, we weren't born to rule other people, we weren't born to take land form anybody else; we were born with the call for peace," he said after talks with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

"We agreed that the answer to the conflict should be based on the two-state solution, two states for two peoples. Peace is urgent, I believe, but possible as well," he added.

The latest round of talks, which began as a result of pressured on both sides by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, have failed to advance and there is a wide rift between the positions of the two sides.

The PA has blamed Israel for the stalemate, saying it has been caused because of its plans to build new Jewish homes in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.

The PA was informed in advance that Israel will continue to build as talks continue. The areas in which Israel plans to build are areas that even the PA has previously accepted will be part of Israel in a future deal.

The negotiating team on behalf the PA recently presented its resignation to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, citing Israel’s “settlement plans”, but the resignations have not been formally accepted.

Nabil Shaath, one of the senior officials in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), warned on Tuesday that the PLO was prepared to join international organizations since peace talks with Israel have failed to result in a breakthrough.

Peres's trip to Mexico focuses on trade and the president, who traveled with an 80-strong business delegation, signed education, culture, science and trade deals with Pena Nieto on Wednesday.

The Israeli president was due to later meet Mexican telecommunications tycoon Carlos Slim, the world's second richest man.

Peres leaves Mexico on Sunday after attending an international book fair in the western city of Guadalajara, where Israel is this year's guest of honor.