Peres calls for closer ties

Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Shimon Peres paid his first state visit to Slovakia amid growing tensions in the Middle East.
Peres said the threat of global terrorism would strengthen relations between east and west, and that the threat would erase traditional differences in the world.
"Countries like India, China and Russia are joining the United States' effort now," he said.

Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Shimon Peres paid his first state visit to Slovakia amid growing tensions in the Middle East.

Peres said the threat of global terrorism would strengthen relations between east and west, and that the threat would erase traditional differences in the world.

"Countries like India, China and Russia are joining the United States' effort now," he said.

He added terrorism should not be accepted in any form and that Osama bin Laden must be seized and Afghanistan prevented from sheltering terrorist groups.

"We understand that the United States is seeking the support of Muslims for its effort," he said, adding that the Israeli government had the same attitude.

Peres held talks with Slovak Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan and discussed the development of economic and cultural cooperation. Kukan in turn called for more intense trade links between the two countries.

"Slovakia has decided to return to Europe and share the responsibility for world happenings. It chose values that reject anti-Semitism and discrimination, thus entering a new stage of relations with the Jewish state," Peres claimed.

He said that Israeli businessmen were eager to participate in the process of reforming the Slovak economy.

Peres was however critical of a decision that will allow Syria to become a member of the UN Security Council.

"Syria cannot be a Security Council member when Damascus is criticised for terrorism," he said.

He added he was not against the creation of an independent Palestinian state but said more had to be done before talks could get under way.

"What we have to do now is to start introducing a complete ceasefire; then we can start completing negotiations."

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