BUENOS AIRES – Argentine President Cristina Fernandez on Monday expressed to Israeli head of state Shimon Peres her willingness to collaborate in the search for peace in the Middle East.
Fernandez and Peres met for nearly 90 minutes in the Casa Rosada – the Argentine White House – in a session that both called “excellent” at a subsequent joint press conference.
“We’re firm supporters of the need for the state of Palestine to exist and be recognized by everyone so that they can live freely, democratically, and of Israel’s right to live in peace,” Fernandez said.
She characterized as mere “chance” the proximity between the arrival of Peres and the upcoming visit to the country by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, scheduled for Sunday.
“We have great respect for him (Abbas), we want to achieve an agreement with him and we would like the Argentine president to make a constructive contribution. We have many shared views,” said Peres, whose post is largely ceremonial.
“Peace cannot be built through violence. Peace is built on the basis of dialogue, of negotiation and the president is very good when it comes to dialogue,” added the Israeli president.
Both leaders also agreed on the need to finalize the investigation into the 1992 attack on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires and a bombing two years later at the headquarters of the Argentine Jewish organization AMIA.
A total of 114 people died in the incidents.
Fernandez once again demanded that Tehran extradite the Iranian citizens implicated in the attacks and emphasized that “nobody, absolutely nobody can – in the name of any religion, any faith or any God – take the lives of others.”
The Iranian government denies any role in either attack and observers here have pointed out that the case against Iran is based almost entirely on “intelligence” provided by the United States and Israel.
The first day of Peres’ official visit to Argentina began with a business seminar and will conclude with a heavily-attended event with the country’s large Jewish community.
Peres is the first Israeli president to visit Argentina in the last 20 years. EFE