Netanyahu says peace is top priority

May 23, 2013 at 6:10 AM
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JERUSALEM, May 23 (UPI) -- Israel is keen to resume peace talks with the Palestinians, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Netanyahu and Kerry met Thursday in Jerusalem during Kerry's fourth visit to the region in efforts by the Obama administration to jump-start peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Netanyahu said discussions would also focus on Iran and Syria but another concern is resuming peace talks, Israel Radio said.

"It's something I want, it's something you want," Netanyahu told Kerry. "It's something I hope the Palestinians want as well and we ought to be successful for a simple reason: When there's a will, we'll find a way."

Kerry praised Netanyahu for the seriousness with which he sought to resume negotiations.

"I know this region well enough to know there is skepticism, in some quarters there is cynicism and there are reasons for it," Kerry said. "There have been bitter years of disappointment. It is our hope that by being methodical, careful, patient ... that we can lay on a path ahead that can conceivably surprise people and certainly exhaust the possibilities of peace."

He stressed the United States' commitment to Israeli security.

Kerry was to also meet with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is charged with the peace negotiations.

He is to travel to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi, in a Ma'an news agengy report, said, "We are waiting for a clear American position and a clear Israeli commitment to the peace process requirements."

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