Remarks With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Before Their Meeting
Secretary of State
October 23, 2013
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, thank you very, very much. My great pleasure to welcome the Prime Minister of Israel Bibi Netanyahu here at Villa Taverna, which is the American Ambassador’s residence here in Rome. And I’m really grateful that our schedules were able to work out so that both of us could combine our travel and meet here in the course of today.
And I want to begin by wishing the Prime Minister a very, very happy birthday.
PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Thanks a lot.
SECRETARY KERRY: Your birthday was Monday and happy to wish you best returns.
PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Yeah. Getting younger all the time, John. (Laughter.) Like you.
SECRETARY KERRY: …
We obviously have other issues to discuss. Thanks to the courage of the Prime Minister and the courage of President Abbas, both of whom took risks to reengage in talks, our negotiators have been meeting now – our negotiators – the facilitator, which is the United States, and the two parties are the negotiators – but the Palestinians and the Israelis have come together now some 13 times and are meeting even now as we are here. And our Special Envoy for these talks, Martin Indyk, is in Jerusalem and helping to facilitate those discussions. So obviously, we will have some time also to discuss that, Syria, Egypt, other issues of the region.
PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Thank you, John. Thank you.
The second thing we’re discussing all the time – and I’m not revealing state secrets if I tell you that we – the Secretary and I talk more or less every other day about these twin goals – is to advance the peace with the Palestinians. That peace is premised on mutual recognition of two states for two peoples – the Palestinian state for the Palestinian people mirrored by the Jewish state for the Jewish people. I think that’s fundamental for any peace, but equally it must be a peace that – as President Obama has said – a peace that Israel can defend by itself, for itself against any conceivable threat. I think these are the two twin pillars of peace, and I look forward to discussing how we can advance both goals in our discussions today, and undoubtedly our discussions tomorrow as well.
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