Vice President Joe Biden assured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during their 4-hour long meeting at his Jerusalem residence Monday evening, that the United States would take in count Israel’s concerns as the P5+1 move forward towards negotiating a comprehensive solution with Iran over its nuclear program.
In a lengthy briefing with Jewish leaders Tuesday, a senior White House official
said the two leaders had a candid, insightful and broad discussion about Secretary Kerry’s efforts to advance the peace process and the US efforts to stop Iran from obtaining military nuclear capabilities.
The one-on-one meeting (meal) between the Vice President and the Prime Minister lasted for about two hours, extending it for another two hours with four members on the Israeli side and three members on the US side present, according to the WH official.
The senior WH official characterized the conversation between Biden and Netanyahu as “candid, intensive, extensive, and very much in keeping with the way that the Vice President and the Prime Minister deal with one another — forthright, honest, in good faith.”
“The two of them I think understand each other, understand where they’re coming from, their perspectives and I think in that regard, it was a productive conversation,” he said.
Below are some excerpts of the briefing, as obtained by YWN:
“The subjects that were covered in the Vice President’s session with the Prime Minister were the peace process, Iran, the threat of jihadism across the region, the threat of terrorism to Israel from Hamas, Hezbollah, and other sources, specific regional events and their impact and import, including the situations in Iraq and Syria, Lebanon and Egypt.
“And because the dinner was so wide-ranging and because the Prime Minister and the Vice President have such a longstanding relationship, it was intertwined with personal anecdotes, conversation about family, conversation about recent trips that each of them have taken, including the President’s trip to Asia, where the Prime Minister was genuinely interested in hearing about his impressions on China, North Korea, other subjects.
“On the peace process, the Vice President wasn’t there to negotiate. Obviously Secretary Kerry is at a critical juncture in these negotiations, and there are important specific issues being worked between the parties with Secretary Kerry, with Martin Indyk, and the Vice President certainly didn’t want to get into the nitty-gritty of the negotiations. He and the Prime Minister had much more of a strategic conversation about how the Prime Minister saw the future, both long-term future with a two-state solution and the immediate future in terms of how to get from here to a deal.
“The Vice President conveyed the President’s and his very strong support for what Secretary Kerry is doing, and made clear that the United States places extremely high value on reaching an agreement that produces two states living side by side in peace and security, but also underscoring just how important Israel’s security requirements are to us and that we would be looking out for those in any final agreement.
“With respect to Iran, the Vice President had the opportunity to update the Prime Minister on the impending implementation of the Joint Plan of Action, to discuss our ongoing efforts to ensure that the sanctions architecture remains intact, and to talk about what a comprehensive solution would look like and elicit the Prime Minister’s views on a comprehensive solution.
“The subject of Iran was not limited, of course, to the nuclear file. They spoke about Iran’s actions in the region — its destabilizing activities, its support for terror, as well as the important implications of the election of President Rouhani and the activities of other actors in the Iranian system, and how the United States and Israel need to cooperate together to confront the variety of threats posed by Iran in the region.
“The purpose of this session was not to try to produce any particular reaction from the Prime Minister or move him to any particular position. It was rather to, number one, come into to convey the fundamental strategic convergence between the United States and Israel on both the objective of a two-state solution and on the objective of preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon; second, to talk in specifics about where we are now and where we are going with respect to the Iranian nuclear negotiations; and third, to have a strategic conversation about how we can close the gaps and get to an end game on the peace process without in any way stepping into the middle of the negotiation that Secretary Kerry is ably carrying out.”
(Jacob Kornbluh – YWN)
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