Obama, Kerry won't meet Netanyahu during March DC visit, due to Israel election

Obama, Kerry won
# 23 January 2015 02:22 (UTC +04:00)

"As a matter of long-standing practice and principle, we do not see heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections, so as to avoid the appearance of influencing a democratic election in a foreign country," said Bernadette Meehan, spokesman for the National Security Council.

"Accordingly," she said, "the President will not be meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu because of the proximity to the Israeli election, which is just two weeks after his planned address to the U.S. Congress."

Netanyahu is scheduled to address Congress on March 3, and is expected to advocate more sanctions on Iran. Negotiations over Iran's nuclear program are among the issues on which Netanyahu and the Obama administration are at odds.

Secretary of State John Kerry will also not meet the Israeli leader during his March visit, officials said.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Wednesday that Netanyahu would address Congress, an announcement that caught the White House by surprise.

Said Meehan:

"The President has been clear about his opposition to Congress passing new legislation on Iran that could undermine our negotiations and divide the international community. The President has had many conversations with the Prime Minister on this matter, and I am sure they will continue to be in contact on this and other important matters."

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