Kerry, Netanyahu discuss Iran, peace in Middle East

Oct. 24, 2013 at 8:14 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter
| License Photo

ROME, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Diplomacy is the best way to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said.

Kerry and Netanyahu met in Rome at the U.S. ambassador's residence for seven hours Wednesday to discuss Iran while other key diplomats met in Washington to discuss Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the Los Angeles Times reported.

While welcoming the shift in tone and the diplomatic opening offered by Iran's new leadership, Kerry stressed the United States must know that Iran's actions make it "crystal clear, undeniably clear, fail safe to the world" that Iran's nuclear pursuits are peaceful.

"We have said, President Obama has made it very clear he will pursue a diplomatic initiative, but with eyes wide open, aware that it will be vital for Iran to live up to the standards that other nations that have nuclear programs live up to as they prove that those programs are indeed peaceful," Kerry said in a media availability before the discussions.

Netanyahu said the actions must involve dismantling of Iran's enrichment capabilities, removal of amassed fissile material from the country and ending the plutonium track.

"A partial deal that leaves Iran with these capabilities is a bad deal," Netanyahu said.

"The best way to get it peacefully is to maintain the pressure on Iran. That's what got them into these renewed negotiations in the first place," Netanyahu said. "The leadership the United States and the president have shown on the issue of sanctions, I think, has been centrally important. I think it would be a tragic mistake to stop right before that goal is realized, and I look forward to discussing this issue, obviously, with you."

While Kerry and Netanyahu met in Rome at the U.S. ambassador's residence, U.S. and Israeli officials met in Washington for the latest round of strategic dialogue talks, the State Department said.

The department said in a statement Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Israeli Minister for Strategic and Intelligence Affairs Yuval Steinitz discussed regional issues and bilateral matters.

Kerry and Netanyahu addressed the status of peace talks, with Kerry calling Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas courageous for resuming discussions.

Netanyahu said he and Kerry talk "more more less every other day" about advancing peace in the Middle East.

"That peace is premised on mutual recognition of two states for two peoples," he said. "[Equally,] it must be a peace that -- as President Obama has said -- a peace that Israel can defend by itself, for itself against any conceivable threat."

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories