Netanyahu: Kerry to arrive Friday, Iran under presure

Netanyahu opens intense week of diplomatic meetings by telling Cabinet US Secretary of State Kerry to arrive in Israel Friday to talk about Iran, peace process. Beforehand, PM will work with French president, then travel to Russia for Iran meeting with Putin

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced during Sunday's Cabinet meeting that US Secretary of State John Kerry will arrive in Israel Friday and that the two will discuss Geneva nuclear talks expected to resume Wednesday.


The Friday talk will be the culmination of a busy week of diplomacy for the prime minister. His week starts with a meeting with French President Francois Hollande followed by a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin later this week.


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"I hope we'll be able to convince our friends to work for a much better deal. It can be achieved because Iran is under stress, and continuing to apply pressure and even increasing it can yield much better peaceful and diplomatic result," the prime minister said.


Netanyahu also stressed that "even among the best of friends, disagreements can arise… especially regarding existential threats."


Netanyahu said Iran talks will "top the agenda" in discussions with Hollande that will also cover negotiations with the Palestinians, much as will be the case in his Wednesday meeting with Putin.


Netanyahu also commented on tensions between the US and Israel: "John Kerry is an old friend, he is also a friend of Israel and is making an effort to promote peace between us and the Palestinians."


Close friend of of Israel

French President Francois Hollande heads to Israel on Sunday hoping to give a push to stalled peace talks with the Palestinians despite Israel's preoccupation with negotiations over Iran's nuclear program.


Hollande, who is flat lining in opinion polls at home, will also use his three-day visit to try to boost trade with the Jewish state, which stood at 2.3 billion euros ($3 billion) in 2011.


He is accompanied by the heads of Alstom, Arianespace and Vinci as well as French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, a key participant in talks on curbing Iran's nuclear program which ended in deadlock last weekend.


On Sunday he will meet President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has described the French president as "a close friend of the state of Israel."


Netanyahu and Peres have both urged France, which took a tougher line than its Western partners in last weekend's negotiations with Iran, to maintain its firm stance at the next round of talks which open on November 20.


"We are convinced that if Iran manufactures its bomb, all the countries of the Middle East will want to follow suit," the Israeli president told French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche.


Israel and Western powers suspect the Islamic republic's uranium enrichment program is part of a covert drive to acquire a nuclear weapons capability, an allegation Tehran vehemently denies.


AFP and the Associated Press contributed to this report



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פרסום ראשון: 11.17.13, 12:40
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