Following a meeting with the top Pentagon officials on Monday and a public event with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday at the Brookings Institute, President Shimon Peres' visit to Washington reaches its peak on Wednesday with his meeting with President Barack Obama - and an official dinner and reception at the White House, during which Peres will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civic award in the U.S..
The festive event is attended by about 140 guests, including Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, former president Bill Clinton, members of Peres' family, and also family members of the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, including his daughter Dalia.
In a meeting the two held earlier, the two leaders were discussed the situation in Syria, the prospects of the peace process under the new coalition and Iran.
02:25 Natasha Mozgovaya: Peres begins to talk.
02:22 Natasha Mozgovaya: Bill Clinton enters the room as Peres is awarded his medal of freedom.
02:20 Barack Obama: And yet, Shimon knows that a nation’s security depends, not just on the strength of its arms, but upon the righteousness of its deeds—its moral compass. He knows, as Scripture teaches, that we must not only seek peace, we must pursue it. And so it has been the cause of his life—peace, security and dignity, for Israelis and Palestinians and all Israel’s Arab neighbors.”
02:19 Barack Obama: “Shimon knows the necessity of strength. As Ben-Gurion said, “an Israel capable of defending herself—which cannot be destroyed—can bring peace nearer.” And so he’s worked with every American President since John F. Kennedy. And it’s why I’ve worked with Prime Minister Netanyahu to ensure that the security cooperation between the United States and Israel is closer and stronger than it has ever been. Because the security of the State of Israel is non-negotiable. And the bonds between us are unbreakable.
02:18 Barack Obama: “…in him we see the essence of Israel itself—an indomitable spirit that will not be denied.”
02:17 Barack Obama: “The United States is fortunate to have many allies and partners around the world. Of course, one of our strongest allies, and one of our closest friends, is the State of Israel. And no individual has done so much over so many years to build our alliance and bring our two nations closer as the leader we honor tonight—our friend, Shimon Peres.”
02:16 Barack Obama: Peres is "the ultimate comeback"
02:14 Natasha Mozgovaya: Also attending - Vice president Joe Biden, Former Middle east envoy George Mitchell.
02:12 Natasha Mozgovaya: Obama begins to speak. In the crowd Madeline Albright; Haim Saban, Alan Dershowitz; Robert Wexler; Dalia Rabin.
02:10 Obama and Peres enter
Peres will end his visit in Washington on Thursday, with special reception at the Israeli ambassador's residence.
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