Seven Hours but Few Details as Netanyahu and Kerry Meet

Peace negotiations with the Palestinians and the Iran nuclear project on the agenda in the meeting between the two leaders in Rome.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met for over seven hours on Wednesday with United States Secretary of State John Kerry at the home of the American ambassador in Rome. The meeting dealt primarily with the Iranian nuclear program and the ongoing peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. For half of the long meeting, Netanyahu and Kerry spoke alone.

The two sides refrained from divulging many details after the meeting. A senior official in the Prime Minister’s Office said that “Netanyahu had presented a very assertive stance on Iran.” On the other hand, an official from the U.S. State Department said that Kerry updated Netanyahu on the talks with Iran in Geneva last week, stressing that the U.S. expects Iran to back up its recent declarations with actions aimed at limiting its nuclear program.

Kerry told Netanyahu that the talks with Iran were at a very early stage and that contacts would continue at working levels in the coming weeks, in an attempt to move the process along. A senior State Department official said Kerry made it clear to Netanyahu that, despite the opening of diplomatic channels with Iran, the U.S. remains steadfast in its commitment to ensure that Iran does not attain nuclear weapons.

Regarding the Palestinian issue, Kerry also briefed Netanyahu on his meeting with Arab League foreign ministers in Paris on Monday. Netanyahu told Kerry that he is interested in advancing the peace process with the Palestinians, but in light of the instability in many Arab nations, any agreement will require very stringent security arrangements.

Premier Netanyahu and Secretary Kerry at the start of their meeting in Rome, Oct. 2013.Credit: Reuters

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