JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel's leader says new talks with the Palestinians will lead to a peace deal only if Israel's vital interests are protected.
Benjamin Netanyahu's comments Sunday were his first since U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the resumption of direct peace talks on Friday.
Netanyahu says Israel's security must be guaranteed and that the Palestinians must recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people.
He also says any agreement must mark the end of the conflict. He says an agreement will be "difficult but possible."
The U.S. announcement came after months of diplomatic efforts. The Palestinians have been wary of talking to Netanyahu's hard-line government.
The last round of peace talks ended in late 2008.