Israel’s Vice Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz met with President Barack Obama to discuss the Middle East peace process and the effort to stop Iran’s nuclear program. Reportedly, Mofaz explained that now is the time to resume peace negotiations with the Palestinians as a result of Israel’s newly strengthened coalition government.
The Jerusalem Post’s Hilary Leila Krieger wrote:
Mofaz, who had been meeting with US National Security Adviser Tom Donilon when the president dropped by, also reviewed the nuclear talks with Iran, the possibility of improving ties with Turkey and upheaval in the region.
Mofaz told a briefing of Israeli journalists after the meeting that he has Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s support in looking to restart talks without preconditions, such as the settlement freeze that Palestinians have insisted be in place for any negotiations to take place.
‘There is the will to renew the talks without preconditions,’ he said at the briefing.
‘I say with very cautious optimism that it will happen in the near future. Whether it will be three weeks or three months, I don’t know.’
Mofaz also indicated that - in his talks at the White House and with other leading US officials over the course of his three-day visit - it is clear the Obama administration sees an opportunity for negotiations with the widening of the governing coalition to include Mofaz’s centrist Kadima party.
Mofaz said he also heard from the Americans a clear intention to prevent Iran from acquiring the bomb.
‘I heard a definitive commitment to keeping Iran from becoming nuclear,’ he said. ‘I heard very determined words to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.’
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