Peres asks Obama to grant clemency to Pollard
President speaks with US counterpart about the need for a defensive wall against Iran; raises issue of Gilad Schalit; Obama says it's "more urgent than ever" to resolve Palestinian conflict.
JPost.com Staff - The Jerusalem Post - April 5, 2011
President Shimon Peres raised the issue of imprisoned Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard in an Oval Office "working" lunch with US President Barack Obama on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters outside the White House, Peres said he requested that Obama grant clemency to Pollard and raised the issue of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit. When asked what Obama's reaction was, Peres said "he heard."
Additionally, Peres said he "told Obama that first of all, there must be a defensive wall against Iran. Do not neglect the moral struggle, because Iran today reflects the corruption of the world's moral values."
Peres also said that Obama reiterated his commitment to Israel's security, saying that it "remains a top priority of the American administration."
Obama, in a statement released after the two met, said that with the winds of change sweeping the broader Middle East it was "more urgent than ever" to find a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Speaking before the meeting, White House Spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that Peres "has been a friend and partner with the United States for many administrations," AFP reported.
Discussing the agenda for the meeting, Carney said that "the two presidents will discuss events in the Middle East and around the world and they will discuss, obviously, efforts that need to be taken towards finding a compromise in the Middle East peace process."
On Monday, Peres met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, his first meeting in the trip to Washington.
Discussing changes currently taking place in the Middle East, Clinton said before the meeting, "This is a time of great opportunity, but it's also a time of many challenges. So our task together is to deepen and broaden our friendship, our relationship."
She added that by doing so, "we can work toward the kind of future that you have always believed in and that you have held out as a promise for the children of Israel and the children of all the countries of the Middle East."
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