Iran is playing a dangerous game by not ceasing its uranium enrichment, and it may miss its last opportunity for the peaceful resolution of its standoff with the international community, President Shimon Peres said Friday during a meeting with his French counterpart in Paris.
Peres toured Belgium and France this week and met European leaders and lawmakers as well as Jewish groups.
French President François Hollande spoke with Peres about Iran’s unsanctioned nuclear program, Lebanon, and the ongoing civil war in Syria. The two also discussed the promotion of Middle East peace.
At a press conference after their meeting, Hollande said that his country advocates a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that the process had already begun. He called the expansion of settlements an impediment to the peace process.
Peres, in turn, said he believes the new Israeli government, once in place, will resume negotiations with the Palestinians, and that there is no substitute for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as a partner for peace. He called Abbas a serious man who supports peace and opposes terrorism, Israel Radio reported.
Concerning Iran, Hollande said a nuclear-armed Iran was a threat not only to Israel, but to the whole world. He called for increased diplomatic efforts by the international community to resolve the standoff with Tehran over its unchecked uranium enrichment.
“The international community, not Israel, will assume the responsibility of preventing Iran from further developing nuclear weapons,” he said.
Speaking in in Brussels Wednesday, Peres pushed back against recent European Union condemnation of Israeli settlements, calling on the European body to aim its opprobrium at anti-Israel violence.
“The EU can help us in putting an end to terror by condemning Hamas because they are the center of terror, the same for Hezbollah,” he said during a joint press conference with EU President Herman Van Rompuy.
Peres’s European tour will culminate in an address before the Plenary Session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday. He will be the first Israeli leader to speak before the parliament in its current, extended format.
He will then head back to Israel Wednesday, by which time Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hoping to have mustered a coalition to present to him.