U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (left) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu address a joint news conference in Jerusalem on December 5.
(photo by Reuters)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Israel's security is a key element of both peace talks with the Palestinians and international negotiations about Iran's nuclear program.
Kerry said Thursday after meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem that the United States will do everything in its power to ensure Iran's ability to create nuclear weapons is "terminated." He said both the U.S. and Israel agree on the goal of a long-term, comprehensive agreement with Iran.
"A peaceful program should not be that hard to prove, and everybody will know whether or not in the end the comprehensive agreement actually provides a test adequate to prove the peacefulness of that program."
Mr. Netanyahu repeated his opposition to the interim deal world powers struck with Iran last month, which calls for Iran to halt some of its enrichment activity and allow wider inspections in return for limited sanctions relief. The Israeli leader wants all sanctions to remain in place until Iran proves it is not developing nuclear weapons. Iran insists its program is peaceful.
Kerry also said Israeli security is "fundamental" to negotiations with the Palestinians, and that he believes the two sides are "making some progress."
Negotiators are halfway through a nine-month process they committed to in late July. Israeli and Palestinian officials have said the talks have yielded little progress.
Kerry said his advisor John Allen, the former U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has been tasked with assessing threats to Israeli security, and that they provided some thoughts about those challenges Thursday to Mr. Netanyahu and his military leaders.
The secretary is due to meet Thursday in Ramallah with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas before returning for more talks with Mr. Netanyahu.
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