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Politics
22.07.2010 15:43
ISRAEL, PRESIDENT, VISIT
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Tuerk and Peres Call for Cooperation, Especially in Science (adds)

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Israeli President Shimon Peres (left) and Slovenia's Danilo Tuerk address the press after talks.
File photo.

Brdo pri Kranju, 22 July (STA) - President Danilo Tuerk and his Israeli counterpart Simon Peres called for a strengthening of cooperation, especially in science and technology, as they met at Brdo pri Kranju on Thursday. They also touched on the situation in the Middle East and Slovenia's rehabilitation project for children from the Gaza Strip.

Tuerk told the press after the meeting that relations between Slovenia and Israel "are very good and very developed". He expressed a wish to strengthen them further, especially in science and technology, which are highly developed in Israel, most notably the field of nanotechnology.

Tuerk hopes that activities of the existing Israeli-Slovenian council for science and technology will be revived. Peres said he was "enchanted" by Tuerk's wish for strengthening cooperation in this area.

The Slovenian president moreover acquainted his guest with the border arbitration agreement with Croatia, which he argued showed the "right way to approach different international issues".

"We wish that peaceful solving of disputes would be predominant," Tuerk noted. He added that Slovenia also wished for success of the peace efforts underway in the Middle East with the support of the US and the Middle East quartet.

Tuerk pointed to the Slovenian contribution in this regard, coming in the form of the rehabilitation project for children from the Gaza Strip.

Peres thanked Tuerk for the project, stressing that it was not in the interest of Israel that anyone suffers in Gaza.

While noting that the Jewish state withdrew from Gaza some years ago, Peres said that the area can be opened fully again if the terrorist attacks end.

He said that food can already reach Gaza, despite the sea blockade with which Israel wants to prevent the supply of weapons. Peres added that this blockade can be lifted "in five minutes" if Gaza stops behaving like a terrorist state.

"We believe in peace," Peres said, while also noting that "peace is not in our hands", but in the hands of Hamas, which controls the area.

Commenting on the Israeli attack on the humanitarian aid ships headed for Gaza at the end of May, which was condemned by the international community, Peres said that Israel feels discriminated against.

"Israel was picked at because of anti-Israeli sentiment in the United Nations," he said, claiming that Israeli soldiers had come under attack and had to defend themselves.

Asked about proposals to send international peace forces to Israel as part of the search for a solution, Peres said that peace had to be a matter of the sides involved and not of others.

He pointed to the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan as a solution that works, expressing hope that the same thing can be achieved with the Palestinians.

Peres highlighted Afghanistan as an approach involving international peace forces, saying that he does not feel that they are solving the problem there.

Tuerk backed the international peace forces idea in principle, while noting that the nature and distribution of such forces needs to be subjected to debate within the talks on a peace agreement.

Peres, whom Tuerk described as one of the great statesmen of our period, began a two-day visit to Slovenia today. He is also to meet Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Jankovic today, while meetings with PM Borut Pahor and Parliamentary Speaker Pavel Gantar are scheduled for Friday.

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22.07.2010 15:43

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