Kerry defends Israel's focus on security in Davos address

Jan. 24, 2014 at 5:10 PM
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DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry defended Israel's focus on security in a speech Friday before the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland.

"The Palestinians need to know that at the end of the day, their territory is going to be free of Israeli troops, that occupation ends. But the Israelis rightfully will not withdraw unless they know the West Bank will not become a new Gaza," he said, a reference to rocket attacks on Israel since its withdrawal in 2005 from the Gaza Strip.

Palestinians have complained of Israel's insistence its security needs must be addressed in talks Kerry organized last summer. Kerry has struggle to accommodate Israel's concerns while keeping the Palestinians at the table, the Washington Post said Friday.

Kerry's wide-ranging speech highlighted U.S. diplomatic efforts around the world, mentioning close work with China and Asian allies to address the North Korean nuclear program and disaster relief, achievement of a cease-fire in South Sudan and demobilization of the M23 rebel group in the Central African Republic, and an economic summit involving the united States, Canada and Mexico.

He also pointed to an agreement with Iran to reduce nuclear stockpiles, saying, "Inspectors can now also be at Natanz [nuclear plant] every day, thanks to the agreement we struck. Taken altogether, these elements will increase the amount of time that it would take for Iran to break out and build a bomb -- the breakout time, as we call it -- and it will increase our ability to be able to detect it and to prevent it. And all of this will to an absolute guarantee beyond any reasonable doubt make Israel safer than it was the day before we entered this agreement, make the region safer than it was the day before we entered this agreement, and make the world safer than it was."

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