June 19, 2011 - 12:00am

President Shimon Peres said Sunday that there was an "urgent" need to reignite the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and an even more urgent need to finalize a peace deal – as both sides were "running out of time."

"It is very urgent," Peres said in an interview with CNN. "I think neither side has much time. We have to act dynamically."

When asked about the Palestinian Authority unilateral bid for statehood, which it planes to bring before the UN General Assembly in September – a move the PA said stemmed from the ongoing stalemate in the peace talks – Peres warned the Palestinian leadership "not to make the mistake of declaring independence outside of a peace deal."

"If you go for a declaration, you have a declaration. You won't have a change in the situation. It's not enough to declare, you have to agree," Peres said.

The Israeli president further told the American news network the he believes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government is "trying to arrive at peace."

But he said the failure to reach a deal threatens the Jewish character of the Israeli state.

"If there will be one state without a clear majority or an un-Jewish majority, that is against everything we are trying to work for," he said.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017