President Shimon Peres denied reports that he would seek to extend his presidential term Monday, amidst a political circus over the future of the position.
"I was elected for seven years - the right thing is to uphold the law and resign from the position when my term expires," Peres stated, in a visit to the Royal Palace in Norway, to reporters from Israel Hayom. "I will leave as soon as the mandate is given."
Peres also responded to rumors that the presidential post will be cancelled, following a wave of criticism over the position and how he, in particular, has served as the Israeli president.
"Most democratic countries have both a Prime Minister and a President - there are advantages to that, and the Knesset will decide," Peres said. "This involves changing the system itself and is not simple."
Peres also addressed the issue of failed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), as well as his claims that he had arranged his own version for a peace deal with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Earlier, Peres had said that the only obstacle to the deal was Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. On Monday, however, he retracted those statements.
"The Prime Minister did not stop me but said he had another offer that he wants to explore," Peres said. "Netanyahu has made steps to promote general peace and promoting economic peace. He was the first head of the Israeli right who expressed support for the two-state solution."
Despite the talks' utter failure, Peres nonetheless remained wholly optimistic for a future deal.
"You need two to tango, but you also need appropriate music for it," he stated. "You do not start negotiations with friends, but rather to administer moves to make friends out of your enemies."
"It is simply a matter of more time," he added. "I have not lost hope."