[Thursday, December 5, 2013] After landing in Tel Aviv, U.S. Secretary of state John Kerry held a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Their meeting mainly focused on security arrangements and the “Iranian file”.During a news conference following his meeting with Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Kerry said that a special security envoy is currently in the region to assess the security situation, and added that meetings are also taking place in the West Bank to “ensure Israel’s security”.
The American official claimed that progress is being made in Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, and that the two parties are determined to continue direct bilateral talks.
He added that the United States would continue to work until ensuring the dismantling of what he called “the Iranian nuclear agenda”, and that Iran needs to implement the decisions of the Geneva Agreement.
“The United States will not ease sanctions on Tehran should it fail to implement the agreement”, Kerry said.
On his part, Netanyahu alleged that Israel is willing to reach what he called a “historic agreement with the Palestinians”, and that any agreement must include all security arrangements which ensure Israel’s security.
He added that Israel is not comfortable with the Geneva Agreement, and called for taking quick actions that ensures strict sanctions on Tehran.
Kerry will be heading to Ramallah for a meeting with President Mahmoud Abbas, followed by another meeting with Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
Despite denouncing Israel’s ongoing illegal settlement construction and expansion activities in the occupied territories, Kerry did not ask Netanyahu to halt all actions that are leading to more obstacles to peace talks.
The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank said that talks with Tel Aviv cannot continue while it continues to build and expand its illegitimate settlements, and while the Israeli army continues its invasions, arrests and its home and property demolition polices in the occupied West Bank and in occupied Jerusalem.