Kerry to return to Israel as Netanyahu publicly admits to differences with US on Iran

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November 17, 2013 12:44

PM says there are differences with US on Iran but disagreements can happen even between the "best of friends."

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US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Israel for another round of talks on the peace process

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Israel. (photo credit: REUTERS)

US Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to arrive in Israel for additional talks on Friday, after a week in which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will meet French President Francois Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin to try and secure a "better deal" on Iran.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu admitted Sunday to differences on Iran with the US, telling the cabinet that there can be disagreements even between the best of friends, "especially when it comes to our future and our fate." Netanyahu said it was his responsibility of Israel's prime minster to look out for the vital interests of the country when faced "with a bad agreement. I hope that we will be able to convince our friends to put forward much better agreement, and that is possible." Netanyahu said the Iranians are under severe economic pressure, and a continuation of that pressure could lead to a better result.

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"I believe that many in the region, and outside of it, agree with this," he said.

Differences between the US and Israel both over Iran and the Palestinian issue came to the fore during Kerry's last visit here some two weeks ago. Netanyahu said Kerry is coming here to push forward the negotiations with the Palestinians, but that the talks will also focus on the Iranian negotiations.

Amid a public strain between Jerusalem and Washington, Netanyahu stressed that Kerry "is an old friend of mine, and he is also a friend of Israel." Netanyahu is scheduled to meet Hollande in Jerusalem on Sunday, and Putin in Moscow on Wednesday, the same day negotiators from the P5+1 and Iran will again be meeting in Geneva for talks.

Last week a senior US official said that the major powers and Iran are getting closer to an initial agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program, adding it is "quite possible" a deal could be reached when negotiators meet Nov. 20-22 in Geneva.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Saturday that global powers and Iran are close to a preliminary deal to rein in Tehran's nuclear program and should not pass up a "very good chance" to clinch it.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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