Oren denies asking to end his run as envoy to US

By
December 30, 2012 19:04

Ambassador to Washington denies report he would return to Israel after nearly 4 years, be replaced by PM's top aide, Ron Dermer.

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Former Israeli ambassador to US Michael Oren

Former Israeli ambassador to US Michael Oren.. (photo credit:Hyungwon Kang / Reuters)

Israel’s ambassador to the US Michael Oren denied reports that he asked to return to Israel after nearly four years in Washington, and that he will be replaced by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s top aide, Ron Dermer.

Oren, who went to Washington soon after Netanyahu’s election in 2009, is attending the conference of Israel’s ambassadors and heads of delegations meeting in Jerusalem. He told reporters covering President Shimon Peres’s speech to the group that there was no truth in the story, and that it was not the first time such rumors had surfaced.

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This is also not the first time Dermer’s name has been put forward as a possible ambassador to Washington; he was mentioned as a possible candidate back in 2009 as well.

The Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment, and the embassy in Washington dismissed the reports as baseless.

Oren also downplayed reports of US displeasure with Israel’s recent announcement of new construction projects in east Jerusalem and the settlements, saying the Americans were not particularly angry about it. This has been a matter of dispute for a long time, and there can be differences among even the best of friends, he said.

Oren added that this was not a big issue in the US, and that he has not heard any condemnations of the move by US lawmakers.

Oren noted recent surveys indicating that support for Israel among the American public was at an all-time high. He also said that this was true not only of the public but of Congress as well, where support for Israel crossed party lines.

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