Peres hopes for Canada role in peace process

Israel's President Shimon Peres said on Tuesday he hoped Canada would play a role in any future peace talks with the Palestinians, after a meeting with Foreign Minister John Baird in Jerusalem.

"Canada played a role in the peace process which, when we started, had two levels of negotiations: bi-national and multinational," the president said in a statement.

"I hope Canada can once again play a role in the peace process," he said, praising Canada's "deep friendship to Israel."

Baird met Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu separately during a tour to Israel and the Palestinian territories, and as US Secretary of State John Kerry ended three days of meetings with both sides in a push to try to revive a stalled peace process.

Baird also hoped for "fruitful" negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and underlined Canada's "close and special friendship" with Israel, a statement from Canada's embassy in Tel Aviv said.

He offered "assistance in advancing these talks," but added "Israel has the right to defend itself, by itself."

Baird and Netanyahu also discussed Iran's nuclear program, the Syrian conflict and the Turkey-Israel relations, aiming to strengthen Canada and Israel's "security relationship."