Israel's Peres welcomes 'courageous' words from Abbas
JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Israeli President Shimon Peres hailed President Mahmoud Abbas as a courageous partner for peace on Saturday after the Palestinian leader made clear his support for a two-state solution to the decades old conflict with Israel.
"(Abbas's) courageous words prove that Israel has a real partner for peace," Peres said in a statement. "These are significant words ... We must all treat them with the utmost respect."
Peres, a Nobel peace prize laureate, holds a post that is largely ceremonial and he has little influence on the policies of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing government.
Abbas' comments during a recent interview with Israeli TV caused controversy after some Palestinian political factions accused the president of giving up the right of return for Palestinian refugees.