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Israel and US at odds over Iran's nuclear programme

US National Security Adviser Susan Rice met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday, they discussed Iran's nuclear programme and the failure of the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, news agencies said.

In her first visit to Israel since she took up office in July 2013, Rice's discussed Iran's nuclear issue with Netanyahu one week before another round of talks between the P5+1 and Iran in Vienna to finalise a final deal on this issue.

The meeting between the US official and the Israeli PM reflected the huge gap between the positions of both countries regarding the kind of solution each of them is willing to adopt. The US believes in a diplomatic and peaceful solution, while Israel believes in a military response.

In a statement the White House said Rice and Netanyahu discussed "a wide range of regional and bilateral issues including the United States and Israel's close security cooperation."

It added: "Rice emphasised the critical importance of pursuing a comprehensive solution that assures the international community that Iran's nuclear programme is exclusively peaceful."

After sitting with Rice, Netanyahu was not willing to speak about the outcomes of the meeting. However, his message to Rice was clear in a speech he delivered to the delegation from the Friends of the Israel Defence Forces.

"Iran seeks to destroy the State of Israel and builds atomic bombs for that purpose," Netanyahu said. "I want to reiterate Israel's position: We think Iran must not have the capacity to make atomic bombs."

He continued: "Iran today has thousands of centrifuges and thousands of kilogrammes of enriched uranium to make a bomb. A bad deal would let them keep those capacities. It is better to have no deal than a bad deal."

About the peace talks, Rice said: "While we have come to a pause in the parties' talks, the United States remains convinced that lasting peace can only be secured through direct negotiations that lead to two viable, independent states living side-by-side in peace and security."

A number of top American officials accompanied Rice on her visit to Israel in order to discuss Iran's nuclear programme with their Israeli counterparts.

Before heading to Israel, Rice met with the European Union's Chief of Foreign Policy Kathrine Ashton who leads the nuclear talks on behalf of the P5+1.

The White House statement said that Rice had reiterated to Netanyahu that the US "will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon and that diplomacy is the best way to resolve the international community's concerns peacefully".

 

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