Netanyahu meets with Kerry in Rome

Leaders meet ahead of finalization of reconciliation deal with Turkey; Leaders address press on meeting which was focused on US-Israel relations, global terrorism, Turkey and peace process with PA

Secretary_Kerry_Speaks_Before_Meeting_with_Israeli_Prime_Minister_Benjamin_Netanyahu

Prime Minister Netanyahu traveled to Rome Monday to meet with United States Secretary of State John Kerry, their meeting centered on US-Israeli security cooperation, global and national terrorism, the peace process with the Palestinians and reconciliation between Israel and Turkey.

The leaders held a press conference following their meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu officially announcing the finalization of a reconciliation deal between Israel and Turkey.

Addressing the press, Kerry stated that during his meeting with Netanyahu “we discussed many different issues, but we focused significantly on the challenge of beating back terrorism and beating back terrorism specifically with respect to Israel’s challenge in the Sinai, in the Golan Heights, where ISIL [ISIS] is now visible, positioned in places, and also the challenge of violence stemming from extremism in Gaza and the West Bank.” He described the meeting as “a very productive conversation” in which “we talked at some length about ways in which we might be able to try to work and move things in a more positive direction.”

On Turkey, Kerry stated “We also talked about the progress being made, the significant progress being made by the Prime Minister in his discussions with Turkey, and we obviously have been encouraging a movement towards the resolution of the differences between Turkey and Israel.” He went on to state that “we did talk at some length about the economic challenge, and particularly some of the countries in the region which are witnessing a transformational kind of set of hurdles – Egypt particularly-with respect to its economic transformation, which has to come at the same time as it is fighting back against terrorism, and we discussed how we can work together with other countries in the region in order to deal with those issues.”

Kerry addressed his conversation with Netanyahu in regards to the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union, reporting that the conversation on the exit “might or might not affect all economies, and I think we came to the conclusion that, managed properly, with leadership and effort by all of the parties to calm the waters and move in a steady way, that we can get through this – also another transformation, transition, and do so hopefully minimizing any kind of collateral negative effect.”

He ended his address focusing on the strong ties between Israel and the United States and hopes for resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, stating “Most importantly, Israel is, as everybody knows and we reiterate again and again, a critical ally and friend of the United States, and Israel continues to be facing significant challenges. We talked about those, and the ways in which, hopefully, with good effort by all leaders, we can try to change the direction and find a positive way to affect the lives of everybody – Israelis, Palestinians, people in the neighboring countries – and move towards a more stable and peaceful future.”

Ahead of his official announcement of a finalized reconciliation agreement with Turkey, Netanyahu reiterated Kerry’s points, stating “We discussed everything that the Secretary spoke about – the challenges in the region from ISIL, east, west, south. We discussed not only American-Israeli security cooperation, but security cooperation in a larger regional context. We discussed how we can advance the process with the Palestinians, difficult though it may be. We discussed regional implications for stabilizing the Middle East, moving into a place where it will be less convulsive.”

On US-Israel relations, the Prime Minister stated “we discussed some bilateral issues between us. This was a far-ranging discussion that I think was meant to bring us both in a common direction for common purposes, and I find it very valuable.”

On Turkey, Netanyahu confirmed the finalization of the reconciliation agreement “which we will show at noon,” addressing the “immense economic implications” the deal with have on the State of Israel, stating “I think it’s an important step here to normalize relations on one side. It has also immense implications for the Israeli economy, and I use that word advisedly – immense implications for the Israeli economy and I mean positive immense implications.”