US President Barack Obama will not bring a new peace plan to Israel with him on his upcoming visit to Jerusalem in March, White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Wednesday. The visit will be the first of its kind since Obama entered the White House in 2009.
briefing to reporters, Carney said that Obama's trip is not connected to
any "specific" Middle East peace proposals between Israel and the
Palestinians, adding that resuming direct negotiations is not the
purpose of the visit.
What Obama does hope to engage in "deep consultation with key partners," US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro told Channel 10 on Wednesday.
Shapiro confirmed that peace talks would be on the agenda, alongside other "critical regional security issues," but emphasized that Obama is coming to Israel to meet the new Israeli government as a "consultation visit."
"The visit will be a good opportunity to reaffirm the strong and enduring bonds of friendship between Israel and the US," Shapiro stated.
The US ambassador emphasized that the most pressing issues facing the two countries was the Iranian nuclear program and the need to deal with the potential transfer of chemical weapons in Syria.
Like Carney, Shapiro stopped short of labeling direct negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel as the goal of the visit, emphasizing that "no doubt renewal of negotiations is still a goal, but it may not happen in the course of one visit."