Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, held a joint conference on Sunday afternoon with the former labor party chairman, Shimon Peres, and offered him any role he desires in the new party Sharon formed after splitting from the Likud.
“I am happy to announce that Shimon decided to join Kadima party”, Sharon said, “Any movement or party in the world should be happy to having someone like Shimon”.
On Tuesday, Peres announced his resignation from the Labor Party, and said that he will support Sharon ahead of the upcoming elections.
“Only Sharon can bring peace”, Peres said, “Only Sharon can dismantle settlements”.
Meanwhile, Sharon said that he will give Peres and role he desires in the new formula.
“No matter what role Shimon chooses, it is obvious that he will be a full partner in the political process”, Sharon stated, “He will also continue his involvement in the development of the Negev and the Galilee and the economic development of Gaza”.
Sharon added that Peres can choose the Foreign Ministry of he desires, “although it is too early to say at this stage”.
Also, Sharon added that he and Peres did not have the time to sit and discuss the designated position, while Peres said that he prefers to wait for Sharon to form his new government first.
“What I see before my eyes is a big opportunity, as well as the challenge we are facing. I understand that after the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip”, Peres stated, “I was also in favor of a national unity government then and I thought that we should have entered the government without any conditions. I think that it was the right decision and also fulfilled the hope that I had”.
Aides to Sharon estimate that at present Peres will not play an active role in Sharon’s campaign and will not be appointed as a senior minister.
However, Sharon’s headquarters have already comprised a list of the top five people to head Kadima’s Knesset list.
The list includes Sharon, Finance Minister Ehud Olmert, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, former Shin Bet Chief Avi Dichter and Transportation Minister Meir Sheetrit.
According to Kadima party officials, more than 10,000 Israelis have already asked to join the party through its new website.