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Israel must complete peace deal with Abbas: Peres

Published on Dec 31, 2012 6:07 AM
Israeli president Shimon Peres speaks during an interview on Dec 6, 2012 at the presidential compound in Jerusalem. -- PHOTO: AFP

JERUSALEM (AFP) - President Shimon Peres on Sunday urged Israel to resume peace talks with the Palestinians, saying their president Mahmud Abbas was a willing partner with whom an agreement could be reached.

Speaking with Israeli diplomats at his Jerusalem residence, Mr Peres said the only way the Jewish state could positively affect the fluctuating reality in the region was "to complete the peace agreement with the Palestinians."

"I know there are different opinions," he said. "This is not a matter of ideology, this is a matter of appraising" the situation. I have known Abu Mazen for 30 years, and nobody will change my opinion of him," Mr Peres continued, using Abbas's nom de guerre.

"I know there is criticism of things Abu Mazen said," Mr Peres continued, but "there is currently no other Arab leader who is saying he is in favour of peace, against terror, in favour of a demilitarised state, and of... the Palestinian consensual right of return. There is not much time left," he warned.

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