Peres, Obama meet in Copenhagen


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli President Shimon Peres and President Obama discussed the Middle East on the sidelines of the climate change conference in Copenhagen.

Peres’ office said in a news release that Obama approached the Israeli leader late Friday afternoon at the U.N. Climate Change Conference and embraced him warmly, then talked about the Middle East situation.

“Israel appreciates and respects your significant efforts to renew the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as that between Israel and its Arab neighbors," Peres told the U.S. president, according to the release. "I ask that you continue in your work to advance peace in the Middle East."

In updating leaders he met on recent events in the Middle East, Peres emphasized that Israel was willing to make significant efforts to ensure peace. He pointed out that terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah, which are sponsored by Iran, prevent all the citizens of the Middle East from enjoying peace and prosperity.

Along with Obama, Peres met with several leaders during the past three days of the conference. They included German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.

Also, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk., Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, Cypriot President Dimtris Christofias, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

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