Netanyahu says he welcomes Obama visit, they have agreed on topics for talks

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that President Obama’s planned visit to Israel is “welcome” and that they have agreed on the subjects on which to focus during their talks. 

“This will be a very important visit that will emphasize the strong alliance between Israel and the US,” Netanyahu said Sunday morning at the beginning of the weekly Cabinet meeting.

“I think that the importance of this alliance stands out even more given what is happening, in light of the great revolutions, the earthquakes that are taking place around us throughout the Middle East, from the Atlantic Ocean and North Africa and eastwards to Iran,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu said that he and Obama had “discussed the visit” and agreed on the subjects on which they will focus during their talks: Iran’s attempt to arm itself with nuclear weapons; the unstable situation in Syria and its consequences for the security of the region; and efforts to advance the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

Netanyahu said the seriousness of the issues to be discussed “require as broad a national unity as possible; the harnessing of all forces in the State of Israel, and this is the nature of our efforts at this time to form a government.”

Netanyahu was charged a week ago with forming a government coalition, following the Jan. 22 elections. He has up to 42 days from then to present a government to the Knesset for approval.

Obama said last week that he will visit Israel as part of a regional visit in the spring, though no dates have yet been set.

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