President Reuven Rivlin (L) and US President Barack Obama.
(photo credit: GPO,REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama could not meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin during his visit to New York this week due to scheduling conflicts, the White House said on Sunday.
The Obama administration attempted to coordinate the meeting throughout “recent weeks,” suggesting the effort began well before House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) surprised the White House by inviting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress.
“In recent weeks, there were contacts between relevant officials in Israel and the US, following a December request from President Rivlin, about the possibility of a meeting between President Obama and President Rivlin during his visit to New York for International Holocaust Remembrance Day at the UN,” National Security Council spokesman Alistair Baskey told The Jerusalem Post in an email. “Due to scheduling conflicts, a meeting during this visit will not be possible.”
President Obama is currently visiting India, and plans to visit Saudi Arabia later in the week.
A spokesman for Rivlin’s office added, “At this stage, it has been agreed not to hold a meeting during his visit, due to the schedule constraints of both leaders, and that a meeting would be scheduled at a later date.”
Rivlin is in New York this week at the invitation of UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon. On Monday the two men will inaugurate a Yad Vashem exhibit at the United Nations entitled, “Shoah: How was it humanly possible?”
On Tuesday, Rivlin is to address a United Nations assembly marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.