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October 1, 2013 11:36 am

Israeli President Peres First Official Guest of Dutch King Willem-Alexander

avatar by Zach Pontz

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Israeli President Shimon Peres meets with Dutch King Alexander at the Hague, Holland. Photo: Amos Ben Gershom.

Dutch King Willem-Alexander hosted Israeli President Shimon Peres at his official residence, Noordeinde Palace, Tuesday, as his first official guest there since ascending the throne following his mother’s abdication in April.

The King, who said that he has visited Israel on a number of occasions and was always impressed by the country and its people, met privately with Peres following an inspection of the honor guard.

Peres, in the final day of a three-day visit to the country, also met with the Prime Minister of Holland, Mark Rutte, ahead of an address to the Dutch parliament.  During the meeting the two discussed the Iranian nuclear threat, the situation in Syria and relations between the two countries, in light of recent steps taken by the Dutch government to isolate products made in West Bank settlements from Israel’s trade agreement with the European Union.

Prime Minister Rutte addressed the issue of boycotting goods from the settlements and stressed that the Netherlands is opposed to boycotting goods from Israel and that the issue had not even been considered within the country. With respect to the recent European Union directive to block Israeli groups operating within the Green Line from European funds, the Dutch Prime Minister said that the Netherlands was working within the EU to reach a consensus and find a solution that does not harm the peace process.

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President Peres thanked the Prime Minister and said, “Europe, like Israel, understands that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be solved through negotiations and dialogue, not through sanctions. A day after the European announcement, Secretary of State John Kerry announced the resumption of talks for nine months – if a deal is reached between the sides there will be no need for the European sanctions, they will be irrelevant. I am sure Europe did not plan to make the negotiations more difficult but if the sanctions are implemented that will be the effect.”

President Peres also called upon the Netherlands, as a key member of the European Union,  to oppose the Iranian nuclear threat and not to allow Iran to complete its race to long range missiles with nuclear warheads, “Europe’s support is important to preventing the Iranian threat. I hope that the new voices will bring a new reality in Iran – but nuclear weapons for mass destruction is a threat to the entire world and we must work to prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons.”

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