Peres: We Are Ready to Enter Direct Negotiations With Syria

President stresses Israel's desire for peace, condemns Iranian president at the UN's Millennium Development Goals summit in New York.

President Shimon Peres on Monday stressed Israel's aspirations for peace with its neighbors, declaring Israel's will to enter direct negotiations with Syria during his speech at the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals summit in New York.

Peres at UN - AP - Sept 20, 2010

"Israel is the product of pioneering human spirit… In spite of wars, we made peace with Egypt and Jordan," said Peres. "[And now] we are ready to enter direct negotiations with Syria. Right away."

Peres also stressed the need for a two-state solution with the Palestinians, saying "there is no other peaceful alternative."

"We are now negotiating with the Palestinians in order to realize a Jewish state – Israel, and an Arab state – Palestine…and I believe that we shall succeed," Peres declared.

Peres went on to harshly condemn Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his countless declarations to "annihilate Israel."

"I believe that the Middle East has room for every person, every nation, every religion," said Peres. "Israel will continue to exist and aspire to peace with its neighbors."

Peres held a press conference following his speech in which he called Ahmadinejad a "living declaration against the UN charter." He called on the UN to reassess whether Iran should be allowed to be a member.

During the press conference, Peres also referred to the alleged meeting that was canceled between him and Turkish President Abdullah Gul.

"I was asked if I would attend a panel organized by President Clinton together with President Gul, and I agreed. They suggested that President Gul and I meet, and I agreed. And then I received all kinds of inappropriate conditions," Peres said.

"We remain Turkey's friends, but Turkey has changed its mind. We're not ready for unacceptable preconditions."