Olmert to Visit White House Next Month

By BARRY SCHWEID
The Associated Press
Thursday, April 27, 2006; 12:24 PM

WASHINGTON -- Interim Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is planning a three-day visit next month for talks with President Bush and other U.S. officials on the stalemate in Mideast peacemaking and on Iranian threats against Israel, diplomatic sources said Thursday.

Olmert would arrive May 21, call at the White House May 23 and depart May 24. It is not clear how much progress the two leaders could make so long as Hamas dominates the Palestinian government.

Both Israel and the United States have vowed not to deal with Hamas until it abandons attacks on Israel and accepts Israel's right to exist.

Olmert will stress in his Washington visit threats against Israel leveled by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said the sources who declined to be identified pending a White House announcement of the visit.

In a satellite message this week to an Anti-Defamation League conference in Washington, Olmert called Ahmadinejad a dictator and said Israel was able to defend itself.

"We need to make sure no one has the capability or the power to commit destruction against us," Olmert said.

"The Jewish people and the very existence of Israel" are Iran's targets, Olmert said, "and we don't see enough of a response from the world."


© 2006 The Associated Press