News Column

Report Says Obama to Visit Israel

Feb. 5, 2013
President Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama plans to visit Israel next month for the first time since taking up the presidency, Israel's Channel 10 reported.

The Israeli television station that broke the news Tuesday night, said the White House had confirmed the visit which will occur on March 20, as part of a wider tour in the Middle East.

The report said Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu discussed the visit in a Jan.28 phone call, recognizing the opportunity for diplomatic progress.

American security teams are already in Israel preparing for Obama's first visit.

"The start of the president's second term and the formation of a new Israeli government offer the opportunity to reaffirm the deep and enduring bonds between the United States and Israel to discuss the way forward on a broad range of issue of mutual concern, including Iran and Syria," the television quoted an unnamed White House official saying.

The report said it is possible the Israeli and American leaders have reached an agreement on key issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian peace tract, noting in the past Obama indicated he would visit Jerusalem only when he believes a real breakthrough could be made in peace talks.

There has been no official comment by Netanyahu's office concerning the television report.

Source: Copyright United Press International 2013

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