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Palestinian Statehood Is Focus of Kerry-Netanyahu Meeting

  • VOA News

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Villa Taverna in Rome, Dec. 15, 2014.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Villa Taverna in Rome, Dec. 15, 2014.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as Palestinian officials push for a United Nations resolution calling for an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory within two years.

The pair met in Rome for the talks that lasted nearly three hours.

Before the meeting, Netanyahu said he would not allow others to dictate a time frame for Israelis’ withdrawal from land sought for a Palestinian state.

"In recent years, we have repeatedly rebuffed attempts to dictate terms to us which would have harmed Israel's security and which do not conform to true peace," the prime minister said.

"“This time, too, we will not accept attempts to dictate unilateral, time-bound moves to us. In a reality in which Islamic terror is reaching every corner of the globe, we will rebuff any attempt that would bring this terror into our home, into the State of Israel. … Even if there are dictates, we will stand up to them firmly.''

A Jordanian-drafted resolution calling for Israel to end occupation of Palestinian land could be introduced this week at the U.N. Security Council.

Kerry soliciting input

Monday's meeting was the first stop on Kerry's trip to assess the state of Israeli-Palestinian issues.

From Rome, Kerry will travel Paris for talks with his counterparts from France, Britain and Germany. On Tuesday, he has scheduled talks with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby in London.

A senior State Department official said Kerry's goal is to hear what everyone has to say and work on a common path forward, while keeping open the prospect of a two-state solution.

But the official said the United States does not believe a resolution calling for a hard deadline is the right way to resolve "a very complicated security negotiation." The officials told reporters that type of solution is "not consistent" with the discussions that have taken place with the Israelis and Palestinians during peace negotiations that broke down in April after nine months.

Reuters news service contributed to this report.

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