US President Barack Obama is not expected to present Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with the much-discussed framework document for negotiations with the Palestinians when they meet in Washington next week, Israeli officials said on Wednesday.
The comments come despite some speculation that Obama would unveil the document during his scheduled meeting with Netanyahu in the White House on Monday. The officials said it was unlikely Washington would roll out the paper before Obama also meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
The Palestinians announced earlier this week that Obama had invited Abbas to visit Washington next month, though no final date was reported. Abbas met twice last week in Paris
with US Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry has been working with the sides since November on the document that would serve as the basis for continuing the talks that began in July.
Netanyahu may meet with Kerry in Washington as well. Both men are to address the annual policy conference of the America Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington next week.
Israeli officials stressed on Wednesday that Iran would be the No. 1 issue on the prime minister’s agenda when visiting Obama for their 14th meeting, the most Obama has held with any foreign leader.
The two men last met in Washington in September, and before that they met several times in Israel last March when Obama visited for his first time as president.
Netanyahu has in recent days underlined his differences with the US on Iran, stressing that any final agreement with Iran must be one that denies the Iranians the capacity to produce nuclear weapons.
As such, he has made clear that Israel believes Tehran must be denied all uranium enrichment capabilities.
The US, on the other hand, has seemingly resigned itself to Tehran retaining some low-grade uranium enrichment capabilities. The meeting is expected to be a chance for the two leaders to coordinate their positions and expectations regarding the recently renewed Iran negotiations.
Regarding the negotiations with the PLO, Netanyahu is expected to underline Israeli security demands, as well as the importance he attributes to the Palestinians recognizing Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.
Kerry has indicated in the past that the US agreed with that position. The prime minister is to leave for the US on Sunday.
In addition to his session with Obama, he is expected to meet with congressional leaders, and there is a possibility he will meet with other senior administration officials as well.
On Tuesday morning, he is scheduled to address the AIPAC conference and then fly to Los Angeles. In the evening he will take part in the premiere of CBS travel editor Peter Greenberg’s one-hour special Israel: The Royal Tour, which is part of a series the newsman is doing on tours of various countries led by their leaders.
The next day, Netanyahu is scheduled to fly to San Francisco for meetings in nearby Silicon Valley with the “heads of global companies at the forefront of hi-tech development.” He will then return to Los Angeles for a gala event with Hollywood personalities, before flying home on Thursday.