Photo by Haim Zach, GPO
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this morning (Monday, 22 January 2018), at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, welcomed US Vice President Mike Pence in a ceremony with an honor guard. The two met privately and then held an expanded meeting with their entourages.
Prime Minister Netanyahu made the following remarks at the start of the meeting:
"Mr. Vice President, I’ve had the privilege over the years of standing here with hundreds of world leaders and welcome them, all of them to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.
This is the first time that I’m standing when both leaders can say those three words, “Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.”
I want to thank President Trump and you for that historic statement, which I know you supported and championed.
I look forward to discussing with you, as we’ve just begun, how to further strengthen our remarkable alliance—it’s never been stronger—and how to advance peace and security in our region, which is our common aim.
And I welcome you, dear friend, to Jerusalem. Welcome."
US Vice President Pence said:
"Thank you Prime Minister. So, thank you for the warm hospitality, Mr. Prime Minister, and it is my great honor, on behalf of the President of the United States, to be in Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, following on the president’s historic decision.
It is a great privilege for me to be here, and the opportunity to visit with you about issues of common concern, ways that we can strengthen the relationship between the United States of America and Israel, ways that we can confront common challenges. But also I look forward, you know, to speaking with you in detail about the opportunity for peace.
In making his historic announcement on December the 6th, President Trump did so convinced that by recognizing Israel’s capital of Jerusalem, that we would create an opportunity to move on in good faith negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on issues that can be discussed, and President Trump truly believes can be resolved.
And so I’m here, standing with you, looking forward to speaking about our common interests—in security, in prosperity—of Israel and the United States of America, but I also am here hopeful, hopeful that we are at the dawn of a new era of renewed discussions to achieve a peaceful resolution to the decades-long conflict that has affected this region.
And so I thank you for your leadership. I thank you for your hospitality. And it’s my great honor to call you a friend."
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)