Obama set for Israel, Palestine and Jordan in the Spring
US President Barack Obama speaks in the briefing room of the White House on Tuesday in Washington, DC. (AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI)
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U.S. President Barack Obama is set to visit Israel, Palestine and Jordan sometime in the Spring for the first time since he took office, the White said on Tuesday.
According to media reports, the president discussed the visit with Israel prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, when he called him recently to congratulate him on being re-elected.
"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," National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said.
Obama has not visited these areas of the Middle East since he was a presidential candidate and has come under fire domestically for letting the U.S./Israel relationship sour.
His spokesman said the president planned to talk about Iran and Syria with Netanyahu while in the region, subjects that the two countries largely agree on. However, the U.S. has criticized Israel harshly for its policies on settlement building in the West Bank and there was no indication that the president would capitulate on his anti-settlement views.
According to Israeli TV network, Channel 10, the visit to Israel is scheduled for 20 March but the White House has not yet confirmed a specific date.