Obama, Netanyahu speak, ‘united’ on Iran – White House
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear programme yesterday and reaffirmed their united determination to prevent Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, the White House said.
Obama telephoned Netanyahu after the White House confirmed the two would not meet during the Israeli leader’s US visit later this month.
An Israeli official said earlier that the White House had rejected Netanyahu’s request for such a meeting in what was widely seen as a snub of a close ally. Obama’s aides denied this.
“President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu reaffirmed that they are united in their determination to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and agreed to continue their close consultations going forward,” the White House said in a summary of the call.
The White House statement made no mention of Netanyahu’s increasingly strident push for Obama to set “red lines” on Iran’s nuclear development – something the United States has resisted.
Netanyahu has had a strained relationship with Obama, but they have met on all but one of his US trips since 2009.
The president was on a foreign visit when the prime minister came to the United States in November 2010.
By withholding a meeting, the Democratic president could alienate some Jewish and pro-Israel voters as he seeks a second term in the November 6 election.
Republican rival Mitt Romney has already accused Obama of being too tough on Israel and not hard enough on Iran.