BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Audio/Video: Programmes: Breakfast with Frost
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Programmes 

banner

Shimon Peres, Former Israeli Prime Minister
Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used.

DAVID FROST:

Israel's new Prime Minister, as we were hearing there, the right-wing Likud Party Leader Ariel Sharon, has been getting down to business already, there was a phone call with Yasser Aarafat, and a job offer to the man he trounced in the presidential election, or the Prime Ministerial election. Now this morning, in a first Sunday morning Cabinet meeting he held it just now, and I think it's just finished because we heard in the news there'd been reports of a government of national unity being formed and if that's to happen a key figure would obviously be the former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, he was there this morning and he joins us now, Shimon good morning.

SHIMON PERES:

Good morning.

DAVID FROST:

Was, was the personnel at the Cabinet meeting this morning, the old Cabinet, or an old and a new Cabinet or what?

SHIMON PERES:

Well it was the old Cabinet, businesslike, very brief, very short, just technical matters.

DAVID FROST:

And there are rumours that Ariel Sharon is offering you the post of Foreign Minister in his government, is that true, has that happened?

SHIMON PERES:

Well we didn't talk about personal positions but Sharon has offered the Labour Party two out of the three most important portfolios which is Foreign Affairs, Defence and the Treasury and we shall have to select two of them when¿if a National Unity government will be formed.

DAVID FROST:

And are you willing to take part in this government if asked?

SHIMON PERES:

I am willing to take part in the renewal of the peace process, I'm not looking for any particular post in any government, I have had enough of it in my life, but I think we have to save the peace process and if I shall be able to contribute to that goal I shall gladly do it.

DAVID FROST:

But you won't take a Cabinet position?

SHIMON PERES:

I didn't say so, if the Cabinet position will be of the nature that will help me to participate and contribute to the peace process I shall take a government position as well.

DAVID FROST:

I see, that's very clear, and some people say that Ariel Sharon may well turn out to be a surprise in the sense, rather like de Gaulle in France, he's the only person who could really finally make a deal with the Palestinians, and you said I'm convinced that Sharon wants peace, are you an optimist?

SHIMON PERES:

Well you cannot be, you cannot ever surprise about the past, but you can have a surprise about the future, I don't think that Sharon is the only one but I think Sharon if he will really decide as I believe he will, may be go in the direction of peace.

DAVID FROST:

And in terms of a government of National Unity, obviously if two major posts went to Labour that would be a government of National Unity?

SHIMON PERES:

Yes.

DAVID FROST:

And you think that is likely to happen, that form of coalition?

SHIMON PERES:

I think there is a fair chance that you shall know it by the end of this week.

DAVID FROST:

Do you think in retrospect the Palestinians from their own point of view ought to have accepted the deal that Mr Barak offered them in those last talks in the US with the concessions that he made, do you think they made a mistake in not accepting that?

SHIMON PERES:

Yes, I think they did a mistake, if they would accept the ideas of President Clinton, maybe we could have reached an agreement and I think they are committing another two mistakes; one is violence and the other is the rhetoric of their leaders. I think if the leaders of the Palestinians would use the same language like President Sadat and King Hussein their whole air, the whole atmosphere would be totally different in the eyes of the Israelis and the Palestinians.

DAVID FROST:

And we gather from Washington that the Clinton plan as such has been discarded and now these are new, new negotiations if they come to take place, not based on the Clinton plan, do you think that's, that's sensible?

SHIMON PERES:

Yes I mean this is a matter of fact, seriously didn't reach an agreement on the Clinton ideas they don't exist anyway, they weren't born so they can't I don't have to kill them.

DAVID FROST:

And we have stories in the paper today that there may be a full election, a full election not just a prime ministerial election, in Israel sooner rather than later, do you think that's a possibility?

SHIMON PERES:

It's a possibility but not a probability because I think Sharon will try and, from his point of view, rightly so, to hold on until the end of the term which is a matter of two and a half years.

DAVID FROST:

And meanwhile as we wait and see what happens next, the killing goes on?

SHIMON PERES:

Unfortunately so, yes, and that's what really affected so much the outcome of the elections.

DAVID FROST:

Do you think you could end up as leader of Labour again?

SHIMON PERES:

I'm not aiming for that goal, I don't want to participate in any competitions, I'm not in search of a post, I'm convinced that I could have won the elections if I was given a chance, all the polls have shown it but unfortunately Labour did not make a place for this occasion.

DAVID FROST:

That's right, but even with this, even with the size of the Sharon majority you think you could have won that election?

SHIMON PERES:

Yes the polls have shown that if that Sharon had run against me I would win in between 51-53 per cent, so if you trust the polls they were optimistic side.

DAVID FROST:

And now you, you plan to be what? A moderating influence in the days ahead?

SHIMON PERES:

Not a moderating, a very active man in order to renew the peace process and push it ahead.

DAVID FROST:

Shimon thank you very much for joining us this morning.

SHIMON PERES:

Thank you very much David, all the best.

DAVID FROST:

Thank you. Shimon Peres very clearly outlining where he stands at this particular moment and where he thinks he may stand in a week or two's time.

END

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE











E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Breakfast with Frost stories