Obama to Speak with Netanyahu by Phone

September 27, 2012  

President Barack Obama will likely speak to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu by phone on Friday, as the White House faces heat over the lack of a meeting between the leaders in New York.

Obama spent only 24 hours in New York for the UN General Assembly earlier this week before Netanyahu arrived, and the Israeli leader will meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton later on Thursday instead of Obama.

“I expect the president will have a follow-up phone call with the prime minister probably Friday,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.

The White House had denied that Obama, who has had a testy relationship with Netanyahu and public disagreement over how to handle the Iranian nuclear challenge, snubbed the Israeli leader.

It said the president’s schedule, as he campaigns hard for re-election, did not allow him to be in New York at the same time as Netanyahu, who is demanding Washington establish public red lines for Iran over its nuclear program.

Officials also denied Israeli press reports that Obama had declined an Israeli request for a meeting in Washington.

Obama has enjoyed insulting Netanyahu on previous occasions. Once, the White House distributed a photograph showing him speaking to Netanyahu on the phone with his shoes on the desk. When Netanyahu visited Washington, Obama had him enter the White House through a back entrance and later left him in the lurch to go have dinner with his family.

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