Israeli prime minister calls new Washington peace talks ‘vital’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday explained his decision to restart peace negotiations with Palestinians in Washington in the coming weeks.

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"I view the resumption of the diplomatic process at this time as a vital strategic interest of the State of Israel,” he said in a statement.

U.S Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday announced that Israel had established the "basis" for restarting peace talks after three years hiatus.

Israel’s leader thanked Kerry for his efforts in the past months.

“I would like to thank US Secretary of State John Kerry for putting in the great efforts that have led to the resumption of the process. I expect that the talks will be conducted in a serious and responsible manner,” he said.

He said that the peace talks are especially important, given the civil war in Syria and the threat of possible nuclear weapons in Iran.

The statement makes explicit two goals: preventing a one-state solution that could end the Jewish-dominated Israeli state; and averting the creation of a Palestinian state backed by Iran on Israel’s borders.

“With the resumption of the diplomatic process, we are faced with two main goals: Preventing the creation of a bi-national state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River that would endanger the future of the Jewish state and preventing the establishment of an additional Iranian-sponsored terrorist state on Israel's borders, which would endanger us no less,” he said.

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