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Speaker Events - Thursday, April 07, 2011

Peres: UN Statehood Vote Will Not Bring Middle East Peace

Israeli President Shimon Peres told a gathering at IPI of all fifteen Security Council members and the ambassadors of Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority that a UN vote on Palestinian statehood would not bring peace to the Middle East.

Mr. Peres argued the UN could not create a state that Israel could accept because it had no ability to give the necessary security assurances to Israel.

“If the UN can provide us with answers on security, go ahead, but if you cannot, be careful,” he said.

“Can the UN provide guarantees that there won’t be missiles, there won’t be terror, and there won’t be intifadas, then what are you supposed to do with a resolution?” he asked.

Mr. Peres made his remarks on Thursday, April 7th at the opening of a private breakfast with the twenty-five assembled diplomats. He was commenting on the possibility that the Palestinian Authority will seek to establish the state of Palestine by a vote in the General Assembly this fall.

That plan has been receiving support from organizations like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and a number of countries in regions like Latin America that have been targets of an international lobbying campaign to give their approval. If offered, such a measure would be expected to pass by a wide margin in the Assembly, which, unlike the Security Council, does not allow for vetoes.

Mr. Peres reiterated that Israel believes in a two-state solution to the Mideast crisis.

Israel occupies the West Bank and argues that unless the Palestinians negotiate over borders and security, no secure state is possible. In addition, it says, with Gaza run by Hamas, the divisions within the proposed state make national unity impossible.

Midway through the breakfast, Mr. Peres was handed a note that he said proved his point.

“I have just been informed that an Israeli bus carrying students from school was hit by a missile fired from Gaza,” he said. “Reports are emerging of injured children."

Looking at the envoys, he asked, “Is the UN able to guarantee that acts of terrorism will not happen?”

Moderating the conversation was IPI’s President, Terje Rød-Larsen.

Read transcript

Click "play" button to hear Shimon Peres' remarks (25:57):

                        


Related News Coverage:
Warning by Israeli on U.N. Nod to Palestinians [The New York Times]
Peres urges UN to halt attacks from Gaza [News24/AFP]
Israeli President Peres Appeals to U.N. for Wisdom in Handling Middle East Region [Fox News]

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