President Shimon Peres said Wednesday that no diplomatic moves should take place on the Israeli-Palestinian track before a new American president takes office and elections are held in Israel in late January.
“Public leaders should respect calendars,” Peres told the press ahead of a meeting with Robert Serry, UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, at his Jerusalem residence. “Until the middle of January, we should not take steps that will fall into a vacuum.
“We cannot reach a peace agreement overnight,” Peres added, noting that peace negotiations — both open and discreet — can only begin in earnest in 2013.
Peres highlighted the political uncertainty in the Middle East, adding that ”we must be patient.”
Serry praised Peres’s commitment to the two-state solution, but said that time is quickly running out on such a scenario.
Serry said that the Palestinian bid for unilateral recognition as a non-member state in the UN General Assembly next month “should not be dramatized.
“Both sides know that negotiations are the only way for a solution,” Serry said. “But we [in the UN] are worried about the viability of the two-state solution… it is slipping out of our hands.”
The meeting took place amid reports that Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad submitted his resignation to the PLO’s Executive Committee Wednesday; the reports were officially denied by the office of President Mahmoud Abbas.
Members of the PLO told Ma’an news agency that Fayyad did not resign, but merely proposed forming a more inclusive Palestinian government, with higher representation for smaller Palestinian factions.