Netanyahu might meet Abdullah before Obama

Officials say Netanyahu may meet Jordanian king after meeting Egyptian President Mubarak next week.

Netanyahu pouts like a chimp 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Netanyahu pouts like a chimp 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Jordan's King Abdullah II may meet prior to Netanyahu's trip to the US next week, government sources confirmed Saturday night. According to the sources, there was currently discussion about a meeting between Netanyahu and Abdullah some time after Netanyahu's meeting Monday in Sharm e-Sheikh with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and before the prime minister leaves next Saturday night for the US and a visit on May 18 with US President Barack Obama. Abdullah, who met Obama last month, was the first regional leader to meet the new US president. Both Mubarak and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are expected to meet Obama soon after Netanyahu's visit. Abdullah, during a visit to Berlin last week, said a "combined approach" to Mideast diplomacy was currently under discussion with the US. "What we are discussing today is a combined approach of bringing together Arabs, Europeans and the United States as a team to create the circumstances over the next several months that allow Israelis and Palestinians to sit at the table, but also with Lebanese, Syrians and [other] Arab nations," Jordan's King Abdullah told a news conference in Berlin. "So it is a packaged effort that we are going to work on... and I would imagine that the plan will be more articulated by the president of the United States after (Israeli) Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit to Washington," Abdullah added. The government official said that Netanyahu's decision to hold talks with the Arab countries that Israel has peace with shows that they "have an important role to strengthen the peace." "We want to see them play an enhanced role and we believe that the common threat from iran and their proxies - Hizbullah and Hamas - provides an opportunity for them to do so," the official said. According to the official, the Netanyahu government believes that while the Iranian threat is a serious challenge, it has created the possibility of enhanced cooperation and dialogue between Israel and its neighbors, since many of the neighboring Arab governments are as concerned about Iran as Israel.