Tags: Obama Netanyahu

Obama, Netanyahu to Discuss Middle East Peace

Monday, 05 Jul 2010 04:37 PM


TEL AVIV — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left for Washington on Monday for a White House visit with President Barack Obama, said an AFP correspondent who witnessed the departure.

The meeting Tuesday is expected to be an occasion for the two leaders to put behind the tensions from their last meeting in March.

The two countries are strategic allies, but the privileged relationship has been jarred by Israel's continued settlement-building in the West Bank and annexed Arab east Jerusalem.

Obama wants the Israeli leader to extend a West Bank settlement freeze due to expire in September, while right wingers in his ruling coalition fiercely oppose any further moratorium.

Also on the agenda will be Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Iran's nuclear ambitions and Gaza, where Israel has eased a four-year blockade following pressure after its deadly raid on an aid flotilla that killed nine Turks, one of them with US nationality.

When Netanyahu and Obama last met in March, the Israeli leader was reportedly chastised by his host and denied the privileges customarily granted to foreign dignitaries, even the ritual handshake photo.

It was an expression of Washington's ire at Israeli plans to build 1,600 Jewish homes in annexed east Jerusalem, announced during a trip to Israel by US Vice President Joe Biden in a move which Washington called "insulting."

This time around, the temperature in the White House is likely to be warmer, with all the usual niceties observed.

Before leaving Tel Aviv, Netanyahu met with several ministers from his party to brief them about the messages in intends to convey during his White House visit, public radio reported.

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Monday, 05 Jul 2010 04:37 PM
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