U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcome Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mrs. Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 5, 2018..
(photo credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayahu and his wife Sara to the White House on Monday.
Trump said before his meeting with the prime minister that he may come to Jerusalem to mark the move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv, an event scheduled to coincide with Israel's 70th independence anniversary.
"I may. I may," Trump said. "We're going to have it built very quickly."
"We're looking at coming," Trump said. "If I can, I will."
Trump, welcomed Netanyahu warmly into the oval office, and both men said that the ties between the countries had never been stronger. The relationship has never been better," Trump said.
Trump said that the US was serious about it's peace plan, but gave no time to when he would unveil it.
US president when asked what would be if the Palestinians did not come back to the table said "if they don't come back there won't be peace."
Netanyahu thanked Trump for moving the embassy saying that in the annals of Jewish history he will be remembered along with those such as Persian king Cyrus the Great, Lord Balfour from the Balfour declaration and US President Harry Truman who was the first US President to recognize Israel.
"This will be remembered by our people through the ages. Others talked about it. You did it," said Netanyahu.
Netanyahu said that the Jewish people have a long memory and will not forget what he did regarding Jerusalem.
Mired in corruption investigations threatening his political survival, Netanyahu was confronted, only hours before the White House meeting, by news back home that a former spokesman had turned state's witness in one of the probes. Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing.
US and Israeli officials said the agenda of Netanyahu's talks with Trump would be topped by the president's push to change or scrap Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and concerns over Tehran's foothold in Syria.
Both leaders have railed against the deal, citing its limited duration and the fact it does not cover Iran's ballistic missile program or its support for anti-Israel militants in the region.
Trump has threatened to quit the agreement unless European allies help "fix" it with a follow-up accord. An Israeli official said Netanyahu and Trump were likely to talk about how to overcome European resistance on the matter.
In a briefing afterward with reporters, Netanyhau said that half the meeting, which went on an hour longer than scheduled, dealt with Iran, and the rest of the time with the situation in Syria, Iraq and with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu said that Trump was extremely well versed about the details of both the Iranian and Palestinian issues. "In another 60 days he has to make a decision [regarding Iran]. He was very interested in my assessments and recommendations,” Netanyahu said.
The prime minister said that he told the president that the deal needed to be either “fully nixed, or fully fixed.”
Netanyahu would not answer questions relating to the ongoing investigations.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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