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Source: Secretary-General
23 July 2014

Remarks to the press with Israeli President Shimon Peres
Jerusalem, 23 July 2014

Thank you, Mr. President.

Good morning, shalom.

It’s great honour for me to join you Mr. President as you conclude your such a distinguished tenure as President of Israel.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my deepest admiration and respect for your leadership and many decades long dedicated service for your country and also contribution to peace, security and human rights for the international community.

Though you may be leaving this August your office, I’m sure that you are going to continue to use your wisdom and vision for continuing peace and security of the world, including in this region.

Mr. President, I wish we could have met at a more peaceful moment but I have been compelled to visit Israel again and this region on a mission, on an urgent mission of peace and solidarity.

As Secretary-General of the United Nations, this is my third such urgent mission during the last five years. It really pains me to see such a violence still continuing periodically. That means we have to work even harder that means we have collectively failed in bringing peace and security and the United Nations will continue to work with regional and global partners to bring peace as soon as possible.

But first and foremost, I think the violence must stop now. We must immediately start dialogue and address all the root causes which have already been identified, which have already been discussed and negotiated a long time I think we don’t have any time to lose.

Solidarity with Israelis under rocket fire, solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza under massive assault.

As the international community strives for a ceasefire in Gaza, there is no time to lose.
The death toll is rising by the hour.

I know there is great fear in Israel. Rockets continue to threaten Israeli civilians and disrupt normal lives of normal people. I have repeatedly condemned it, and will continue to do so.

I also know there is a deep pain, anguish and loss among Palestinians.

More than 600 Palestinian have been killed in Gaza – and almost 3,000 have been injured – the vast majority of them civilians.

As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I cannot and I will not be silent in the face of this tragedy.

I mourn the loss of so many innocent lives in Gaza and I grieve with the families.

The violence must stop now as I said. Dialogue must begin, that’s what I am now doing to promote such dialogue among the parties concerned.

And the situation must be addressed at its roots.

We have identified underlying issues that includes an end to occupation and the daily humiliation and anger that comes with it.

As I said yesterday, whatever the obstacles, Israelis and Palestinians share a common future.

They need hope for political process progress and economic prosperity – a future of two states living side by side in peace and security. That’s the vision of two-state solution.

President Peres, you have been a strong advocate. You have worked closely with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a partner for peace. I still believe that he is the best partner for Israelis so that both Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace and harmony.

As I said, you may be leaving office, but I know you will never retire in that quest.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. President, let us all do what we have to deliver the future that the people of Israel and Palestinians so richly deserve.

Thank you
I wish you all the best.

Off-the-Cuff on 23 July 2014

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