President Shimon Peres met privately with US President Barack Obama on Tuesday and discussed with him recent developments in the Middle East, stalled peace talks with the Palestinians, the Iranian nuclear program and spy Jonathan Pollard. The two leaders later had lunch together.
Speaking to reporters outside the White House, After the meeting Peres told reporters his raised the Iranian issue during his meeting with Obama. He said Iran symbolizes the corruption of universal moral values.
"I told Obama that first of all, there must be a defensive wall against Iran. Do not neglect the moral struggle, because Iran today reflects the corruption of the world's moral values."
Peres noted that Obama reiterated his commitment to Israel's security, saying that it "remains a top priority of the American administration."
Peres also mentioned that he asked Obama to pardon Jonathan Pollard ahead of Passover. When asked what Obama's reaction was, Peres said "he heard [me] ." but that he didn't expect him to give an answer on the spot. The two also discussed the issue of Gilad Shalit.
He added that Obama told him he was against the attempts to de-legitimize the State of Israel and that he is in favor of reigniting direct talks with the Palestinians.
Obama, in a statement released after the two met, said that with the winds of change sweeping the broader Middle East it was "more urgent than ever that we try to seize the opportunity to create a peaceful solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Remarks by U.S. President Barack Obama at the regular White House briefing today (April 5):
"President Peres is, I think, an extraordinary statesman. We had an extensive discussion about what's happened in the Middle East. I think he and I both share a belief that this is both a challenge and an opportunity, that with the winds of change blowing through the Arab world, it's more urgent than ever than we try to seize the opportunity to create a peaceful solution between the Palestinians and the Israelis. And he had some very interesting ideas around those issues.
"He also recognizes the fact that in a country like Egypt, not only do we need to be nurturing democracy, but we also have to make sure that economic opportunity is growing there. And so we explored some ideas about how we can provide some help and make sure that young people there see a brighter future.