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September 15, 2013 11:23 am

Netanyahu Tells Kerry Israel Supports U.S. ‘Efforts to Rid Syria of its Chemical Weapons’

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem earlier this year. Photo: Israel GPO.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced support Sunday of U.S. efforts to rid Syria of its chemical weapons stockpile.

“We have been closely following – and support – your ongoing efforts to rid Syria of its chemical weapons,” Netanyahu told  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the conclusion of a meeting between the two leaders.

“The world needs to ensure that radical regimes don’t have weapons of mass destruction because as we’ve learned once again in Syria, if rogue regimes have weapons of mass destruction, they will use them,” he said.

Netanyahu added that the situation in Syria presented an opportunity for countries that oppose Iran’s nuclear program, to send a message to the Islamic Republic that it “must understand the consequences of its continual defiance of the international community, by its pursuit towards nuclear weapons.”

Netanyahu pointed out to Kerry that his oft asserted strategy of combining diplomacy with a military threat had proven successful in forcing Syria’s pledge to give up its chemical weapons.

“What the past few days have shown is something that I have been saying for quite some time, that if diplomacy has any chance to work, it must be coupled with a credible military threat. What is true of Syria is true of Iran, and, by the way, vice versa,” he said.

The U.S. and Russia reached a deal Saturday by which Syria must submit comprehensive details of its chemical weapons stockpile within one week, international inspectors must be on the ground no later than November, and all chemical weapons material must be eliminated by mid-2014.

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