(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Wednesday, 23 October 2013), met with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Rome and said at the start of their meeting:
"The foremost security problem that we face as you said is Iran's quest for nuclear weapons. Preventing that is a goal I share with you and President Obama, and you have said, I think wisely, that Iran must not have a nuclear weapons capability, which means that they shouldn't have centrifuges or enrichment. They shouldn't have a plutonium heavy water plant, which is used only for nuclear weapons. They should get rid of the advanced fissile material and they shouldn't have underground nuclear facilities, underground for one reason – for military purposes.
I think you're right. I think no deal is better than a bad deal. I think a partial deal that leaves Iran with these capabilities is a bad deal. You wisely insisted there wouldn't be a partial deal with Syria. You were right. If Assad had said, you know, "I am ready to dismantle 90%, 50% or 80% of my chemical weapons capability," you would have refused and correctly so, and I think in the case of Iran, it is essential that it be made to live up to Security Council resolutions that demand an end to enrichment and enrichment capability and an end to plutonium heavy water capability toward fissile material for nuclear weapons.
I think we're very close together and I agree with you that the goal is to get it peacefully, peacefully. The best way to get it peacefully is to maintain the pressure on Iran. That's what got them into these renewed negotiations in the first place. The leadership of the United States and the President have shown on the issue of sanctions I think has been centrally important. I think it'll be a tragic mistake to stop right before that goal is realized. And I look forward to discussing this issue with 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 the Palestinians. That peace is premised on mutual recognition, of two states for two peoples, of 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 for peace and I look forward to discussing how we can advance both goals in our discussions today and undoubtedly our discussions tomorrow as well."