News / Middle East

    Netanyahu Cites US Primary Elections in Declining Obama Invite

    FILE - Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads the weekly cabinet meeting, in Jerusalem, Jan. 24, 2016. The White House said Israel proposed a meeting for either March 17 or 18, with the Obama administration agreeing to meet on one of those days.
    FILE - Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads the weekly cabinet meeting, in Jerusalem, Jan. 24, 2016. The White House said Israel proposed a meeting for either March 17 or 18, with the Obama administration agreeing to meet on one of those days.
    VOA News

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said Tuesday he turned down a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington later this month because he wants to avoid interfering with the ongoing presidential primary elections.

    The White House said Monday that Israel had proposed the meeting for either March 17 or 18, with the Obama administration agreeing to meet on one of those days.

    "We were looking forward to hosting the bilateral meeting," National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said.  "We were surprised to first learn via media reports that the prime minister, rather than accept our invitation, opted to cancel his visit."

    The development comes as Vice President Joe Biden is due to arrive late Tuesday in Israel during his multi-nation visit to the Middle East.  Biden will meet with former Israeli President Shimon Peres on Tuesday and has a meeting with Netanyahu scheduled for Wednesday.

    Biden began his trip Monday in the United Arab Emirates, where he visited U.S. airmen stationed at the Al-Dhafra Air Base and vowed the United states would "squeeze the heart" out of Islamic State and destroy it.

    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (C) visits Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, March 7, 2016. Also on Biden's itinerary are Israel, the West Bank and Jordan.
    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (C) visits Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, March 7, 2016. Also on Biden's itinerary are Israel, the West Bank and Jordan.

    He dismissed Islamic State insurgents as "criminals and cowards."

    In an interview with the Abu Dhabi newspaper The National, Biden pressed the U.S. case for a negotiated peace settlement to end the five-year civil war in Syria, ruling out a military solution.  Peace talks are set to resume again later this week in Geneva as a truce has sharply curtailed fighting in recent days.

    "A political solution between the parties is the only way to end the violence and give the Syrian people the chance they deserve to rebuild their country," Biden said. "To create a credible, inclusive, and non-sectarian system, a new constitution and free and fair elections."

    Biden also discussed the fight against Islamic State with Abu Dhabi's crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as well as efforts to resolve conflicts in Yemen and Libya.  He thanked the UAE for its humanitarian contributions in both Syria and Iraq.

    UAE forces have been taking in part in airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria as part of a U.S.-led coalition.

    Biden's trip is scheduled to include a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday and with Jordan's King Abdullah II on Thursday.

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    Comments
         
    by: wambi william
    March 09, 2016 8:46 AM
    I like Trump to become U.S. next president.

    by: joe bambino from: orlando, fl
    March 08, 2016 3:52 PM
    Netanyahu upset because President Obama won't let him dictate American foreign policy.
    In Response

    by: God Bless America from: NY
    March 09, 2016 12:36 AM
    Netanyahu is the only person on this earth that has the capacity to flagrantly interfere America's domestic and foreign policies with numerous standing ovation from public.

    by: Solaris
    March 08, 2016 10:41 AM
    Netanyahu has become the puppet of the Arabs. The Arabs want war with Iran so does Netanyahu. Its time to bring an end to hegemony of these dirty Semitic policies in the middle east.

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    March 08, 2016 8:42 AM
    There are already differences between the Russian and American assessment of Iran's compliance with the deal Obama made with Iran over nuclear weapons. This was entirely predictable. The Russians will do everything conceivable to help Iran continue its covert program to develop nuclear weapons to attack Israel and eventually the US itself.

    Why should Netanyahu visit a President who is not merely a lame duck but is so weak he can't defend America's security threats let alone Israel's. I think Israel has written Obama off as an ally. Obama is a Kumbaya Kumbaya can't we all make love not war president. It is pointless to buy, train, and prepare the most powerful military in existence if the commander in chief won't ever use it even when circumstances scream out. Why is the US Navy not stationed around those fake Chinese Islands this very minute?

    by: PermReader
    March 08, 2016 7:02 AM
    The West in its aspiration to appease ME Muslims for their oil for decades, instead it have awaked the Islam beast ,who does not want just Israel, the sliped under dish, ISS want the West as the whole.

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