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Peres Says His Talks with Hassan Gave ‘legitimacy to Open Dialogue’ Between the Arab and Jewish Worl

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Premier Shimon Peres told the Knesset Monday that his visit to Morocco last week for talks with King Hassan had given “legitimacy to open dialogue” between the Arab world and the Jewish world. In this, Peres said, the meeting had been “an important turning point” in Mideastern affairs.

The Premier said the meeting would hopefully “accelerate” the process of thawing the cold peace with Egypt. He added that Israel would renew its invitation to Jordan to open a direct dialogue. Peres told the Knesset:

“…I believe that this meeting (in Morocco) can serve as an important turning point in the history of the peace efforts in the entire region. It can serve as an infrastructure for a continuation of the dialogue that will bring a solution of peace….It extricated the peace process that began with Egypt from its isolation. It gave legitimacy to the chief condition for the peace process: open dialogue instead of eternal confrontation. It demonstrated anew Israel’s sincere desire for peace. It showed that on the Arab side, too, there is someone to talk to.” Recounting some of the substance of his talks with Hassan, Peres said that the King had strongly maintained that an equitable solution to the Palestinian problem was a cardinal Israeli interest since the Palestinian birthrate posed a demographic problem for the Jewish State.

Peres continued, quoting Hassan: “Their (the Palestinians) rate of natural increase is greater than yours. You will not use force, and you will be compelled– if not today then tomorrow–to find a solution befitting your character, and not only their aspirations.” Peres said that he had replied “that Israel seeks peace. This is true of all the democratic elements of the Israeli polity. The Jewish people has no inclination to rule another people, or to suppress their sons. The problem is to find a partner for peace.”

Peres pointed out that Hassan, whom he characterized as “truly a man of peace,” urged Mideast peace on the basis of the resolutions adopted at the Arab League summit conference of September 1982 in Fez, Morocco.

Peres said that for the King, “the advantage of the Fez plan lies chiefly in the fact that it posits two elements: it is accepted by almost all the Arab states, and –according to the king–the plan implies the Arab states’ recognition of the existence of the State of Israel and its right to live in recognized and secure borders.”

But, Peres said he had pointed out to Hassan that “the plan also recognizes the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinians and dwells on their right to their own state, one that would incorporate the territories that were added to Israeli control since the Six-Day War.”

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