Yesterday, January 24th, President Shimon Peres spoke at the central plenary of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

 

The President of the Stathttp://www.mfa.gov.il/NR/rdonlyres/3F265210-04BC-4C55-A9E2-C29E1796AB20/0/presperesdavos2013pg.jpge of Israel, President Shimon Peres, began his visit at the World Economic Forum in Davos and spoke at a special plenary dedicated to the Middle East in light of the changes and challenges facing the region. At the start of his remarks President Peres commented on the fact that he would be unable to provide headlines on the recent elections in Israel and said: We welcome the elections in Israel. At the moment we cannot guess which way the new government will face and who will be in it, we must wait patiently until Wednesday when the official results will be published. Afterwards, according to the law I will call consult with all the elected groups in the Knesset. Until then I won’t be able to comment further on the matter.”

President Peres spoke in detail about the Arab spring in Egypt, the situation in Syria and the changes in the Middle East; “Today it is almost impossible to be a dictator in the Middle East. The central problem for the people of Egypt today is poverty, unemployment and that is a problem for many in the Middle East. The young generation wants education, employment and a decent salary. Israel respects the results of the elections in Egypt and the elected president. We hope that Egypt will succeed in overcoming its economic difficulties and achieve economic prosperity.”

With respect to the Iranian threat President Peres said, “Iran wants to rule over the Middle East, and no country wants that to happen. Iran is a center of terror, it distributes weapons and terror across the world. Iran is not exclusively an Israeli problem but a problem for the entire world.” President Peres addressed the coalition against Iran under the leadership of the United States of America and said, “I am confident that President Obama’s policies with regards to Iran are correct. President Obama is leading a serious, responsible and just coalition against Iran – the Iranian nation is feeling the impact of economic sanctions.”

President Peres also addressed the ongoing bloodshed in Syria and said, “Syria is suffering from terrible bloodshed with many refugees suffering as a result. I believe that Assad is running out of options and it is a matter of time until Assad’s reign will end. I also believe that the Arab League can bring an end to the bloodshed in Syria, if the member countries work together and will enter with a special military force, with a UN Mandate that will be responsible for maintaining peace and ending the bloodshed. The issue is urgent as innocent people are being killed every day.”

Before closing the plenary session, Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and Chairperson of the World Economic Forum, asked President Peres what his vision for the coming decade and the next generation is as someone who will be celebrating his 90th birthday this year. President Peres responded and said, “I’ll tell you a personal story – as a child I loved telescopes and I would speak to my girlfriend about love and the stars, today I prefer microscopes and to discover the tiny and the hidden that has yet to be uncovered. I believe that in the next decade the world will be completely different, full of possibilities and with many more opportunities and scientific discoveries. The coming decade will focus on the nano, in scientific developments, and that will be the source of future innovations more than space and the stars. It is better for us all to offer hope rather than create despair. Let me tell you a secret: optimists and pessimists die the same way, but they live differently and from my life experience I can tell you that it’s better to live as an optimist.”

Prior to the plenary session President Peres conducted diplomatic meetings with the president of Azerbaijan and the president of Georgia. During both meetings the president’s discussed the Middle East and increasing the strategic cooperation between Israel and each of the countries. President Peres will conduct further meetings during the conference with including with the Chairman and CEO of Cisco, John Chambers; Co-founder and CEO of Kickstarter, Perry Chen; Chairman and CEO of the private equity group Blackstone Stephen Schwarzman and others.

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