5:03 am - Sunday September 22, 2019

Obama, Netanyahu discuss Iran, Israeli-Palestinian peace talks

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Obama, Netanyahu discuss Iran, Israeli-Palestinian peace talks
Obama, Netanyahu discuss Iran, Israeli-Palestinian peace talks

WASHINGTON – U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday spoke by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss issues including Iran and the Israeli- Palestinian peace talks, the White House said.

“The two leaders discussed recent developments related to Iran, Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, and other regional issues,” the White House said in a statement.

The two leaders agreed to continue their close coordination on a range of security issues, it added, without disclosing further details.

The Obama-Netanyahu phone conversation was held after the latest round of U.S.-Israeli Strategic Dialogue held in Washington last Wednesday, during which the two allies reaffirmed their determination to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and enhance cooperation on regional security issues.

Also on last Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Netanyahu held a meeting in Rome, Italy to discuss coordination on tackling regional security issues, especially Iran’s nuclear program.

The latest talks and dialogues with Israel are regarded as part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to ally Israel’s concerns about the diplomatic engagement between the U.S. and Iran.

Washington has welcomed the “change of rhetoric” and diplomatic overture offered by Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani, who last month expressed the willingness to engage diplomatically with the U.S.-led West to resolve the dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program.

But Israel is worried that Iran’s latest diplomatic offer could be a plot merely designed to rid itself of the crippling sanctions imposed by the U.S.-led Western countries.

The U.S. and Israel suspect that Iran’s nuclear program is aimed at building nuclear weapons, which they fear could pose an existential threat to the Jewish state, despite insists of Tehran that its nuclear program is solely for peaceful research and civil energy purposes.

Meanwhile, Israel has announced its plan to release 26 Palestinian prisoners, held for offenses committed before the 1993 Oslo peace accords, as part of its efforts to push forward the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that were resumed in July.

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