JERUSALEM, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will arrive in Israel on Wednesday at a tense time in U.S.- Israel relations, to oversee negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and discuss the interim Iranian nuclear agreement.
Kerry’s visit was supposed to take place two weeks ago, but was postponed due to developments in Geneva which produced the interim agreement signed between Iran and the world powers last Saturday.
According to officials in Jerusalem, the planned topics of discussion will be the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, which have reportedly hit a dead end, and the agreement with Iran which Israel objects to.
Kerry will also visit Ramallah, where he will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and try to encourage him to advance the peace talks as well.
This visit comes as Israel and the United States are suffering a strain in their relationship, over their differences of opinions regarding the diplomatic discourse between the international community and Iran and the proper course of action.
While the United States pushed to sign the interim agreement with Iran, citing an historic opportunity, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu campaigned worldwide to keep sanctions intact on the Iranian administration and demand guarantees from Iran it would not pursue a military nuclear program.
Netanyahu said at a cabinet meeting the day following the signing that the agreement is a “historic mistake” and said Israel was not bound to it and will do anything necessary to protect itself and make sure Iran doesn’t achieve nuclear capabilities.
U.S. officials criticized Israel’s hardline stance and objection to the talks, and Kerry himself was quoted as saying that Netanyahu is not fully aware of all the details of the agreement while criticizing it.
On a similar note, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman will head to Washington D.C. later on Tuesday, on his first official visit there since resuming office earlier this month.
He left his post a year ago due to an indictment filed against him on charges of fraud and breach of trust. He resumed his post once he was found not guilty.
Lieberman, who recently said Israel should start considering fishing for other allies other than the United States, is scheduled to meet with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the U. S. ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power. On Sunday he is scheduled to meet with Kerry in person.
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