WASHINGTON - President Shimon Peres met privately with US President Barack Obama on Tuesday and discussed with him recent developments in the Middle East, stalled peace talks with the Palestinians, the Iranian nuclear program and spy Jonathan Pollard. The two leaders later had lunch together.
Peres "has been a friend and partner with the United States for many administrations," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters ahead of the meeting.
After the meeting Peres told reporters his raised the Iranian issue during his meeting with Obama. He said Iran symbolizes the corruption of universal moral values. Peres noted that the US president reiterated his commitment to Israel's security which is at the top of the American administration's priorities.
Peres also mentioned that he asked Obama to pardon Jonathan Pollard ahead of Passover. He noted the president listened but that he didn't expect him to give an answer on the spot. The two also discussed the issue of Gilad Shalit.
Peres and Obama (Photo: EPA)
He added that Obama told him he was against the attempts to de-legitimize the State of Israel and that he is in favor of reigniting direct talks with the Palestinians.
Obama told reporters the two had an extensive discussion about unrest sweeping the Middle East and share a belief that it represents both a challenge and an opportunity. Obama said it's "more urgent than ever that we try to seize the opportunity to create a peaceful solution" between the Palestinians and Israelis.
In the three days preceding his departure to the US, Peres has been briefed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
On Monday, Peres