Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Israel’s Peres praises Spain for the arrest of two al Qaeda affiliated terrorists

Israeli President Shimon Peres expressed  his appreciation to Spain for the arrest of two al Qaeda affiliated terrorists, during a meeting in Jerusalem with visiting Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo.

One man, an Algerian, was arrested in the eastern province of Zaragoza, and the other, a Moroccan, in the southern province of Murcia, after a joint operation between Spain, France and Morocco.

"I want to express my appreciation for your capture of two Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists, we saw in Boston the damage two terrorist killers can do. By capturing them you saved the lives of many innocent people and demonstrated to terrorists that they will not be able to operate freely. Terror has no policy, the policy of terror is only terror, » Peres said.

Garcia-Margallo said, “We are very aware of what terror is. We had the first attack in 1965, and we had in 2004 the bombing in Madrid which killed 193 Spaniards. We are fighting and doing what we can in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Somalia, and now we are also involved in Mali, which is a big threat to Europe and in particular Spain.”

During the meeting the two discussed strengthening the strategic relations between Spain and Israel, the peace process with the Palestinians, the situation in Syria and economic cooperation between the two countries.

President Peres said  relations between Israel and Spain « are in excellent shape » with trade of over $2 billion and we're working on a new high-tech research and development agreement."

During the meeting, Garcia-Margallo told the President that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas asked him to convey a message that he wants to negotiate peace with Israel and that he would like to see an offer of confidence-building measures he would like to see confidence building measures.

He spoke with Peres after meeting with Abbas in Amman on Saturday and explained to the Israeli President that his country wanted to help ensure that a two-state solution is reached.

 “I had a meeting with President Abbas and I felt that he is willing to negotiate a peace process. He asked me to convey a message that he would like to see confidence-building measures regarding political prisoners and the problem of the settlements,” Garcia-Margallo said.

“I transmitted to him and to the Jordanian authorities and now to you that you can count on Spain for any help we can offer to bring peace to this city, this city of peace,” Garcia-Margallo said.

During their meeting, Peres told Garcia-Margallo, “Peace with the Palestinians is Israel’s policy. To overcome the remaining gaps, we have to negotiate, and I believe that the Palestinian Authority and its president, President Abbas, are a partner that we can and should negotiate with.”

The two men also discussed Syria. Peres told Garcia-Margallo, “The whole world is concerned with [Syria’s] chemical weapons stockpile. It is very much on the world’s agenda.”

The Spanish minister also also met with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni.

Following his meeting with Netanyahu, Garcia-Margallo announced that the decision to open a Spanish consulate in Gaza was "frozen" because it was probably not the correct move to make at that moment, according to the Spanish media.

Following his meeting with Livni, Garcia-Margallo reportedly explained that he "froze" the decision to open a consular office in Gaza as soon as he learned of the plan from the press.

"I did not know about it," he stressed, saying that the decision was made by consular officials at the initiative of the consul general in Jerusalem, who claimed that the reason for opening an office would be to serve Spanish people in Gaza, because doing so from Jerusalem can be complicated.

Garcia-Margallo said that the officials had not considered the political implications when making the decision, Spanish daily newspaper El Pais reported.

"I am increasingly convinced that it is the right decision to freeze the opening of the office until the circumstances change," Spanish news site elPeriodico quoted the minister as saying. He added that this was important because otherwise the move could be interpreted as support for Hamas, which he emphasized was never his intention nor that of those who proposed the idea.

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