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Netanyahu: Israel Ready to Speak to Syria, Palestinians

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he told U.S. President Barack Obama that Israel is willing to immediately open peace talks with Syria and the Palestinians.

But Mr. Netanyahu says he also made it clear to Mr. Obama that any peace deal must address Israel's security needs.

The prime minister spoke Wednesday upon his return to Israel after a three-day trip to the United States.

During talks Monday in Washington, Mr. Obama urged Mr. Netanyahu to make serious progress toward peace with the Palestinians.

President Obama also reiterated his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Prime Minister Netanyahu has not endorsed the two-state solution.

Regarding Syria, Turkish-mediated talks between Israel and its neighbor were suspended in December when Israel launched an offensive in the Gaza Strip.

A key issue in talks between Israel and Syria is the Golan Heights, a strategic region that Israel captured from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War.

Mr. Netanyahu has said Israel will not return the Golan Heights for the sake of peace with Syria. Syria has said it will only accept a peace deal that includes the return of the Golan Heights.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.