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Clinton urges Israeli leaders to keep pursuing peace


08:46, June 20, 2013

JERUSALEM, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Former U.S. President Bill Clinton on Wednesday called on Israeli leaders to stop looking for "perfect solutions" to the Middle East conflict and to learn how to live together with the Palestinians.

"There are no perfect solutions to the Israel-Palestine conflict," Clinton said at the opening session of the Fifth Presidential Conference in Jerusalem, in which he was bestowed with the President's Award, the highest civil distinction.

The award has been conferred since last year under the auspices of Israeli President Shimon Peres for an outstanding contribution to the state of Israel or humanity.

"Rather," he said, "the key is to expand the definition of 'us' and shrink definition of 'them'."

"There are many reasons for continued mistrust between Israelis and Palestinians," Clinton said. "You are rich, they are poor, problems along the borders."

"But one thing I know is, if you are compelled to share future, you have to determine terms of future," he said.

"None of us is perfect or will win. The important thing is to stay on path and keep looking and keep working," Clinton concluded his speech.

Earlier in this session, the official envoy of the Quartet to the Middle East and former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, advocated the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Blair cautioned Israeli leaders that the two-state solution has a short window of opportunity that "could close, maybe forever."

The Presidential Conference, which coincides this year with Peres' 90th birthday celebration, was launched Tuesday night with the attendance of a spectacle of world leaders, Hollywood stars and Nobel laureates.

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