Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Jerusalem on Tuesday to discuss jumpstarting Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Netanyahu said the Palestinian recognition of Israel and Israeli security must be the first issues to be addressed.
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The one-on-one meeting, which was three-hours long and held on the balcony of the David Citadel hotel in Jerusalem, also dealt with Iran’s nuclear program and with the situation in Syria.
Before the meeting, Netanyahu stated that he was “determined not only to resume the peace process with the Palestinians, but to make a serious effort to end this conflict once and for all.
The prime minister clarified that in the course of discussions with the Palestinians he would first want to discuss “questions of recognition and security." These comments were made in response to the Palestinian demand that Israel propose a map with the borders of the future Palestinian state at the outset of negotiations.
Kerry noted that some progress had been made during his visit to Israel.
"We were pleased with the substance of the discussion and agreed, each of us, to do some homework. And we're going to do our homework over the course of the next weeks, and today we're going to continue some of that discussion with a view to seeing how we can really pull all of the pieces together and make some progress here."
Before the meeting, Kerry stressed that the United States was determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
"We are serious, we are open to negotiation, but it is not an open-ended, endless negotiation. It cannot be used as an excuse for other efforts to try to break out with respect to a nuclear weapon," said Kerry.
Netanyahu said that Iran is in a race against the clock and “has been using the talks to continue to advance its nuclear program. We've just heard by Iranian state television about a new production facility for nuclear material and two new extraction sites. I think we also understand what it means for the world to have rogue states with nuclear weapons. Iran cannot be allowed to cross into that world. It cannot be allowed to continue its nuclear weapons program, and we must not allow it to continue to do so in defiance of the entire international community."