White House turns down Netanyahu meeting request

September 11, 2012

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu speaks during a joint news conference with his Bulgarian counterpart Borisov in Jerusalem. (Reuters)

In a sign of the strained relations with Washington, a senior Israeli official said the White House has turned down a request by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to meet President Obama during a visit to the United States to address the United Nations General Assembly later this month. The official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said Netanyahu had offered to go to Washington to meet Obama after speaking at the General Assembly on Sept. 27 but that the White House responded that the president’s tight schedule left no room for a meeting. The official noted that on all previous trips to the United States, Netanyahu had met the president.

National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said Obama and Netanyahu would be in New York on different days and that their visits would not overlap. “They’re simply not in the city at the same time,” he said. “But the president and PM are in frequent contact, and the PM will meet with other senior officials, including Secretary Clinton, during his visit,” Vietor said.

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