'US determined to prevent nuclear Iran'

Biden tells Netanyahu he is certain Israel will take bold steps for peace.

biden netanyahu in jerusalem 311  (photo credit: Emil Salman / Pool)
biden netanyahu in jerusalem 311
(photo credit: Emil Salman / Pool)
US Vice President Joe Biden expressed America's "absolute, total,unvarnished commitment to Israel's security" at a press conference inJerusalem following a meeting with Prime Minster Binyamin NetanyahuMonday morning.
As such, Biden said, Washington was "determinedto prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and we are working withmany countries around the world to convince Iran to meet itsinternational obligations to cease and desist."
The cornerstoneof the US-Israel relationship, Biden said, was America's unwaveringcommitment to Israel's security. "Bibi you heard me say before,progress occurs in the Middle East when everyone knows there is simplyno space between the US and Israel. There is no space between the USand Israel when it comes to Israel's security."
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Biden,who said that he had "productive" talks with Netanyahu about a widerange of issues, also took pains to praise Netanyahu for steps he hastaken to make a more conducive atmosphere for talks with thePalestinians.
"A peace agreement will require both parties tomake some historically bold commitments," Biden said. "You have done itbefore, and I am confident for world peace you will do it again."
Biden,who has known Netanyahu for some 30 years, said he has taken somesignificant steps, including "the moratorium that has limited newsettlement construction activity," and measures that have increasedPalestinian movement in the Wet Bank.
Palestinian leaders, hesaid, are also "beginning to make progress" on efforts to reform theirinstitutions of government and make their security forces morereliable.
"It is easy to point fingers, particularly in thispart of world as to what each side has not done, but it is alsoimportant to give credit where things have been done, in order to beable to move forward," Biden said.
Biden said the US "willalways stand with those who take risks for peace," and added thatNetanyahu was willing to do that, and he hoped and expected that thePalestinians would be prepared to do so as well.
Netanyahu, who thanked the US Administration for its support on a widerange of issues – from preserving Israel's qualitative military edge tosupport on the Goldstone Commission report - also called for toughsanctions against Iran.
The Prime Minister also said he appreciated the Administration'sefforts to advance the peace process, and was "pleased that theseefforts are beginning to bear fruit."
At the end of the joint statements – no questions were taken from thepress – Netanyahu gave Biden a certificate saying that a ring of treeswas planted in memory of his mother, Catherine Eugenia Jean FinneganBiden, who passed away in January at the age of 92.
"My love for your country was watered by this Irish lady, who wasproudest of me when I was working with and for the security of Israel,"Biden replied.