Netanyahu: I'll address Iran, 'secure peace' in US speech

US House speaker says he'll extend formal invitation for PM to address a joint meeting of US Congress once Congress approves resolution.

By REUTERS, JPOST.COM STAFF
April 14, 2011 19:43
2 minute read.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

 
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In a Likud faction meeting Thursday evening, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that he greatly appreciates an invitation extended - less than an hour before - to speak in front of a joint session of the US Congress.

Netanyahu said that he will speak to the US Congress about the Iranian threat and the need for a "secure peace" between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.

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US House Speaker John Boehner will invite Netanyahu to address a joint session of the US Congress during a visit to Washington next month, Boehner's office announced on Thursday.

The prime minister praised his party's achievements in the area of security and said, "there are those who talk and those who act - they speak and we act ." In a defiant tone, he added, "this is our land and it always will be."

"Before our party came into power, the security policy was bad. The policy that I have introduced, however, is very clear," Netanyahu said. "We are doing a lot. We are not just reacting to the situation but instead we are carrying out preventative actions," the prime minister continued.

Netanyahu is widely expected to deliver a new diplomatic initiative during his visit to the US, after sources close to the prime minister floated the idea that a major speech would be given in front of the US Congress. The move would come ahead of a Palestinian initiative scheduled for September, when the Palestinian Authority will ask the United Nations to recognize its statehood within pre-1967 borders.

Until Monday, Netanyahu had said he was yet to decide when to deliver the speech, or what to say in it.

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Speaking in Jerusalem at a biannual luncheon with the ambassadors from EU countries posted in Israel, the prime minister – when asked about the speech and its content – said, “I have not decided what and when. But two questions needed to be answered: First, can we get back to direct negotiations with the Palestinians, and I am doubtful. And second, what can you do if there are no negotiations?”

The “stumbling block” to movement in the diplomatic process was that the Palestinian Authority was working on the assumption that it didn’t need to negotiate, and that it had a “free pass” from the world not to negotiate, Netanyahu said.

Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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