Kerry and Netanyahu in Israel last month.
Yesterday, a Senior State Department official issued the following statement about Secretary of State John Kerry’s meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
Following-on President Obama’s and Vice President Biden’s meetings with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Secretary Kerry met with the Prime Minister at the State Department this afternoon. Secretary Kerry and Prime Minister Netanyahu discussed a range of issues, focusing primarily on the ongoing final status negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians and how the United States, in its facilitating role, can continue to help these talks succeed. They also discussed Iran and Syria. Secretary Kerry underscored our unshakable commitment to Israel’s security and noted that we will continue to work closely with Israel on our shared interests, especially to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Transcript of Kerry and Netanyahu’s remarks follow the jump.
Secretary of State John Kerry and and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before their meeting, September 30, 2013 in the White House Treaty Room
SECRETARY KERRY: Good afternoon, everybody. It’s my great pleasure to welcome the Prime Minister of Israel here and to the State Department. I think – (audio feedback). Ta-da. (Laughter).
Obviously, I’ve had a number of very generous, warm welcomes as I have visited Israel and the Mideast frequently. I think I’ve been probably the most frequent visitor; I should get frequent flyer miles for my visits to the Prime Minister’s office.
PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: We couldn’t afford it. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY KERRY: But it is more than safe to say that the Prime Minister and I are every meeting forging a better and better relationship, a stronger and stronger friendship on a very personal level. And I’m very grateful to him for his very generous welcomes to me, the amount of time he has spent with me in Jerusalem working through very complicated but very, very important issues.
Israel, as everybody knows, is a very special friend to the United States of America. And we have just had a very constructive luncheon with the President and a very important meeting before that with a larger group of people. And now the Prime Minister and I will talk about both Iran, the Middle East peace process, Syria, and issues of concern.
We are committed to continuing to work constructively to move forward on the peace process, though it is always difficult, complicated. We know that. But we’re working in good faith. I have confidence in the Prime Minister’s commitment to this effort, and I also want him to know that as we reach out to respond to Iran’s efforts to purportedly change its relationship with the world, we do so very aware of and sensitive to the security needs of Israel and the demands for certainty and transparency and accountability in this process.
So I look forward today to furthering our conversation, and I’m very, very happy to finally welcome the Prime Minister here to the State Department.
PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Mr. Secretary, thank you. John, it’s good to be with you. We have if not the whole world, a good chunk of it to discuss, and we do so as friends and as people seriously committed to both achieving security and a durable peace. These are hard things to achieve, but none better than you and us to try to do it together.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you. Thanks, partner.