Trump and Netanyahu to meet on sidelines of UN confab, US confirms

Source: Trump and Netanyahu to meet on sidelines of UN confab, US confirms | The Times of Israel

The two will both be in New York to address the world body; no indication yet if Trump will also meet with Abbas

US President Donald Trump, left, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands after giving final remarks at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem before Trump's departure, May 23, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

US President Donald Trump, left, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands after giving final remarks at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem before Trump’s departure, May 23, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet in New York next week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, a US official confirmed on Tuesday.

“The President is planning to sit down with the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and I know that the President’s looking forward to doing that,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters during her daily press briefing.

On Sunday, Netanyahu said he would meet with Trump while they both were in Manhattan, but Washington had yet to verify a summit would take place.

The meeting will be the two leaders forth together since Trump assumed office. The two met once in February when the Israeli premier visited the White House, and twice in May when the American president traveled to the region, which included a two-day stop in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Trump is slated to address UNGA on September 19. Reports have quoted officials saying the meeting with Netanyahu will likely take place on or around September 18.

Officials did not say where the meeting would take place, but last month the Israel Hayom daily reported it would be held at Trump’s National Bedminster Golf Club in New Jersey.

Officials have not yet disclosed what subjects are on the itinerary of discussion, but their summit will come as Trump is making headlines for his machinations to toughen up on Iran and potential plans to decertify the regime as violating the 2015 nuclear deal, despite International Atomic Energy Agency investigators finding it is abiding by its terms.

Trump told The Wall Street Journal in August he “does not expect that they will be in compliance.” That interview came shortly after Foreign Policy reported that he told his aides to develop a case for why the Iran has violated the agreement by October, when he must report to Congress on whether Tehran is honoring the landmark pact.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Argentinian President Mauricio Macri at the San Martin palace, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, during his official state visit. September 12, 2017. (Avi Ohayon / Government Press Office)

Netanyahu has long been a fierce critic of the deal. On Tuesday, he said his position remained simple — that it is a bad deal and should either be renegotiated or trashed.

“In the case of Iran, there have been some news stories about Israel’s purported position on the nuclear deal with Iran. So let me take this opportunity and clarify: Our position is straightforward. This is a bad deal. Either fix it — or cancel it. This is Israel’s position,” Netanyahu said from Argentina, where he is on a Latin American swing before making his way to New York for the UN General Assembly.

The meeting between the two leaders also comes at a sensitive time for Trump’s peace push. Last month, the former real estate mogul dispatched a US delegation to the Middle East to try and renew negotiations between the sides.

No tangible developments occurred, but Palestinians continue to criticize the US team for its refusal to back a two-state solution, a goal that has been central to American foreign policy for decades.

In August, Nauert responded to these criticisms by saying the Trump administration did not want to “bias” itself by supporting any particular outcome to the conflict.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will also be in town for the UN confab. There is no indication yet that he is slated to meet individually with Trump or that the three will meet together.

 

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