Israel ready to negotiate with Syria, Peres tells U.N.

Israel ready to negotiate with Syria, Peres tells U.N.

JERUSALEM — Israel is ready to enter peace negotiations with Syria “right away,” Shimon Peres told the United Nations General Assembly.

In his address Monday in New York to the international body’s annual meeting — the Nation’s Millennium Development Goals summit — Peres also said he believed that a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the only “peaceful alternative,” adding, “and I believe that we shall succeed.”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Lebanese President Michel Suleiman reportedly left the auditorium when Peres began speaking. Ahmadinejad is scheduled to speak Tuesday.

Peres referred to Ahmadinejad during his speech, saying that “The other day, the formal leader of Iran called to annihilate Israel and wipe it off the map of the Middle East. I believe that the Middle East has room for every person, every nation and every religion.

“Israel will continue to exist and aspire to peace with its neighbors. There is enough room for friendship in the Middle East.”

The Israeli president said that “Today, science, creativity and knowledge replaced land as the source of wealth. Land can be conquered, not science.”

Peres offered to share Israeli technological advances with other nations, including countries without diplomatic ties to Israel.