JERUSALEM (JTA) — The United Nations "should not delude" the Palestinians into thinking that a unilateral declaration of a state will lead to its establishment, Israeli President Shimon Peres told a U.N. official.
Israel supports the establishment of an independent state, but one achieved through "direct and discreet" negotiations, Peres told U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Dr. Ashe-Rose Migiro Sunday during a meeting in Jerusalem.
"The differences between the sides are not that great and there is no doubt that those gaps will be closed at the end of the negotiations," Peres said.
Peres also called on the United Nations to address the security needs of Israel, especially terror attacks, weapons smuggling and demonstrations used as a means of provocation.
Migiro said that part of the reason for her visit to Israel was to increase cooperation between the United Nations and Israel.
"We appreciate Israel’s efforts in places like Haiti, and I have come to thank your country for its efforts to fight poverty," she said.
Migiro also said that the U.N. is committed to working with the international community toward a two-state solution, with the nations living side by side in peace and security.
Sunday’s meeting comes days after an Israeli newspaper reported that Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met in London in April to discuss ways to relaunch peace negotiations.
Peres and Abbas continued their discussion in a private conversation on secure phone lines, the Israeli daily Maariv reported. The private talks reportedly collapsed as a result of their being made public.
Following the alleged April meeting with Abbas, Peres went to the United States for a one-on-one meeting with President Obama. Ideas expressed in Obama’s policy speech on the Middle East, notably the pre-1967 lines as a starting point for negotiations, may have come from that meeting, according to reports.