Susan Rice Reassures Israel on Iran Nuclear Ambitions

Susan Rice Reassures Israel on Iran Nuclear Ambitions

US National Security Adviser Susan Rice assured Israel at high-level talks on Thursday that Washington remained determined to stop Iran developing nuclear arms, the White House said.

Earlier, Netanyahu said the best defence against a nuclear Iran was to block it from developing such a weapon in the first place and he referred to a new round of talks between Tehran and world powers due to open next week in Vienna.

The White House statement said the Israeli-US talks Thursday also dealt with “other critical regional and bilateral issues,” without elaborating.

It was Rice’s first trip to Israel since she took office last July and it came shortly after the collapse of US-brokered Middle East peace talks.

The White House is assessing whether to try to salvage its Middle East peace efforts after the collapse in late April of nine months of US-brokered negotiations vigorously promoted by Secretary of State John Kerry.

Netanyahu suspended negotiations after the Palestine Liberation Organisation, dominated by Abbas’s Fatah movement, struck a reconciliation deal with Hamas militants, who control the Gaza Strip.

— ‘Catch 22’ —

Rice met for dinner late Thursday with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah and said that despite the halt in talks the US remained committed to the process.

Referring to the Hamas rapprochement: “She reiterated US policy that any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence, recognition of the State of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations between the parties,” the statement said.

Abbas told his guest that the Palestinian people’s interest, was “to seek the unity of land and people through the implementation of the reconciliation agreement and the formation of a government of independents to prepare free and fair elections,” his spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said in a statement.