Peres Secretly Addressed 29 Arab State Representatives
President Shimon Peres secretly addressed 29 foreign ministers from Arab nations last month, Yediot Aharonot reported Sunday - and they applauded him after his speech about Israel, a nuclear Iran and the fight against radical Islam.
Peres spoke two weeks ago to the Gulf States Security Summit in Abu Dhabi from his Jerusalem office via livestream, according to the report. Peres allegedly only agreed to appear if his presence was kept strictly under wraps.
Foreign Ministers present at the event included representatives from Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and Yemen. Other officials present included high-ranking representatives from other Muslim countries - including Indonesia, Malaysia, and Bangladesh. Saudi Arabia was represented by the son of the Saudi monarch.
The meeting was facilitated by top United Nations envoys, including Terje Larsen, the Under-Secretary General to the UN, and Martin Indyk, the US Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations.
Peres's speech elicited applause, according to the report.
"There was a lot of excitement from both sides by his appearance," an unnamed representative involved in the event was quoted by the Israeli paper as saying.
"Everyone understood that this was something historic: the president of the Jewish State is sitting in his office in Jerusalem with an Israeli flag, and they're sitting in the Persian Gulf talking about security, the war on terror and peace," added the unnamed source.
Peres's involvement was leaked to the press by reporter Thomas Friedman from the New York Times, who was also present at the conference.
While Yediot Aharonot said that Friedman cannot reveal the full extent of Peres's speech, Friedman did say that Peres had stressed that Israel could be a major player in helping fight a nuclear Iran and radical Islam, among other topics.
The report follows news earlier this week that Iran is seeking to reconcile with the Gulf States, despite facing major differences over both Iran's nuclear weapons program and the future of Syria, which has been locked in a bloody civil war since 2011.