Friday, October 30, 2009

Defense minister (Or Foreign?) Barak to join PM Netanyahu on US trip

(Ynet).Defense Minister Ehud Barak will join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his trip to Washington next week. The Prime Minister's Office has yet to confirm that Netanyahu will meet with US President Barack Obama or other administration officials, but Barak's addition implies that the visit will have a diplomatic significance.

Both Netanyahu and Barak are expected to meet again with US special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell in the coming days. According to sources in Jerusalem, the meeting is aimed at setting the ground for possible diplomatic meetings in Washington, scheduled to take place from November 8 to 10 during the United Jewish Communities' General Assembly.

President Obama is expected to address the UJC on Monday, November 9. Sources in Jerusalem estimated that Obama would meet with Netanyahu, and perhaps also with Barak, but these meetings have yet to be officially confirmed.

Jerusalem officials have estimated that the White House has yet to confirm the meetings in order to pressure Israel to advance the peace process. According to the source, Obama will meet with Netanyahu to discuss the negotiations with the Palestinians and the Iranian nuclear threat.