Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with U.S. President
Barack Obama in Washington as the two sides sought the resumption of
negotiations with Palestinians.
A brief statement released by
the White House late Monday said the two leaders privately discussed a
number of issues including security cooperation, Iran and how to move
forward on Middle East peace. Israeli officials said they will have
no comment until Tuesday.
|Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leaves the White House after a meeting with President Barack Obama in Washington, 09 Nov 2009|
Earlier Monday, Mr. Netanyahu told the annual meeting of the Jewish
Federations of North America that talks with Palestinian President
Mahmoud Abbas should begin immediately. He said it is his goal to
achieve a permanent peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians.
efforts have been complicated by Mr. Abbas, who said last week he would
not stand in elections next January, citing the impasse with Israel.
On Monday, the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, reiterated
warnings that Israel and the U.S. need to take serious steps if they
still want to negotiate with the Palestinian Authority.
have demanded a halt in construction of Jewish settlements in the
occupied West Bank as a precondition for returning to talks.
U.S.-Israeli relations have been strained since Mr. Netanyahu rejected
President Obama's demand to stop settlement construction.
Netanyahu defended his country's position in his public remarks Monday,
saying no Israeli government has been as willing as his to restrain
settlement activities in order to get Palestinians back to the
President Obama's chief of staff, Rahm
Emanuel, will address the Jewish Federations meeting on
Tuesday in place of Mr. Obama. The president canceled his speech to
travel to a memorial service in the southern U.S. state of Texas for
the victims of last week's deadly shooting at the Fort Hood military