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Netanyahu Stresses 'Real Changes' to Iranian Nuclear Deal at Davos Summit

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Photo, GPO

JERUSALEM, Israel – "Real" rather than "cosmetic" changes to the Iranian nuclear deal topped Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's agenda in meetings with heads of state at the Davos Economic Forum in Switzerland on Wednesday.

US President Donald Trump has given the deal "one last chance" before reinstating economic sanctions against Iran lifted by the Obama administration.

Netanyahu stressed that point with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

While the two agreed to disagree on how to go about altering the deal, he said she "understood" it threatens Israel's "very existence," Israel's YNet news reported.

For his part, Netanyahu said Merkel has "proven her commitment" to Israel in the past, and he was "pleased our (Israel's) positions have been understood full well."
In addition to changes needed to the nuclear deal, Netanyahu also spoke about strengthening economic ties with Israel.

In his meeting with Swiss President Alain Berset, creating opportunities for bilateral economic cooperation topped the agenda.

With Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Netanyahu discussed updating the free trade agreement and expediting contacts on the issue.

He also met with Guatemalan Finance Minister Julio Hector Estrada, French President Emanuel Macron, Belgium Prime Minister Charles Michel, and Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, among others.

In each meeting, Netanyahu made Israel's position on preventing the "nuclearization" of Iran, the agreement's failures and how to deal with them a key part of the discussion.

He called on leaders to use the opportunity created by Trump's declaration, while repeatedly reiterating that Israel will not allow Iran to establish a military presence in Syria. Israel, he said, is working to prevent this.

Netanyahu spoke of the changing Middle East and the opportunity those changes are creating.

He also signed an agreement with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, whom he congratulated on assuming the chairmanship of the African Union.

The two men also talked about Sudanese and Eritrean migrants who will leave Israel to make a home in Rwanda. Both leaders agreed they would only accept a process that complies fully with international law. They discussed a wide range of Issues, including ways to expand cooperation between the two countries.

Netanyahu said he will not compromise Israel's security needs in any future agreement with the Palestinians.


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