Following their respective speeches at the World Economic Forum in Jordan, President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas held a private chat on the sidelines of the conference Sunday night.
The two discussed obstacles preventing the restart of direct peace talks, as well as ways to overcome them, Peres’s press office said.
Peres largely reiterated the talking points of his speech earlier Sunday evening, urging Abbas for the immediate commencement of negotiations and impressing that the time was ripe for action.
“Peace will be based on the principle of two states for two peoples – a Jewish state, Israel, living side by side in peace and security with an Arab state of Palestine,” he said. “We must not miss the opportunity for peace, we must find a way to return to the negotiating table, only through negotiations will the disagreements be overcome.”
Abbas, in turn, stressed to Peres that the Palestinian people yearn for a future of peace, but that such aims will only come with the realization of an independent state of Palestine.
Earlier in the evening Abbas said that peace between Israelis and Palestinians was “still possible,” but that peace hinged on Israel’s willingness to “end the occupation of our lands”, evacuate settlements and free Palestinian prisoners.
“This is what will make peace and ensure security for you and for us,” he said.
High-level talks between the sides have largely been frozen since 2008. The Palestinians say they will only come to the table with a settlement building moratorium in place, while Israel insists on talks without preconditions.
Speaking with Peres, Abbas called again on the Israeli public to reexamine the Arab Peace Initiative, according to Peres’s office. The plan would grant Israel peace and diplomatic relations with Arab states in exchange for a Palestinian state with defined final borders based on the 1967 lines and a “just” and agreed solution on the refugee issue.