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Netanyahu readies for meetings with Trump, world leaders ahead of UN summit

Le Premier ministre Benjamin Netanyahu et le président américain Donald Trump, pendant la cérémonie d’accueil sur le tarmac de l’aéroport international Ben Gurion, le 22 mai 2017
AFP
Netanyahu expected to use face time with Trump, speech at UN to take aim at Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu kicks off on Sunday a week full of meetings with world leaders, including two encounters with US President Donald Trump, ahead of his appearance at the annual United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

Netanyahu, who arrived in New York on Friday fresh off a visit to Latin America, will spend most of the day Sunday preparing for his annual address at the UN gathering of world leaders, his aides said, according to the Times of Israel.

He is then reportedly scheduled to hold closed-door meetings in the late afternoon with World Economic Forum Chairman Klaus Schwab as well as with a group of American Jewish leaders.

On Monday at 1:00 p.m. local time (1700 GMT), Netanyahu will hold the first of two hotly anticipated meetings with Trump at New York’s Palace Hotel, the Times reported. Both leaders will make brief statements to the press before retreating for closed-door talks.

Later Monday, Netanyahu will meet with the president of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela; the prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe; and Rwandan President Paul Kagame at the UN, the report says.

According to a Channel 2 television report Saturday, Netanyahu is expected to use his face time with Trump and his address at the gathering of world leaders on Tuesday to take aim at Iran.

Reuters

During his meeting with Trump on Monday, Netanyahu will reportedly present the US President with a proposal for quitting or significantly amending the 2015 nuclear deal signed with Iran and other world powers under the administration of former president Barack Obama.

The premier will detail a plan “to cancel or at the very least introduce significant changes” to the accord, the report said.

The two leaders are also expected to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian peace process during the meeting.

Trump and Netanyahu will meet again on Tuesday on the sidelines of the UN summit.

Trump will also meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on the sidelines of the event on Wednesday. Abbas arrived in New York on Sunday.

Trump's UN meetings with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, however, will reportedly be kept largely detached from the Middle East peace process.

“Achieving peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians remains one of the president’s highest priorities," a senior White House official told The Times of Israel, "but the United Nations meetings will primarily focus on other issues and serve as check-in opportunities.”

All three leaders are also set to deliver addresses to the annual gathering of world leaders, with Trump and Netanyahu speaking on Tuesday and Abbas on Wednesday.

Netanyahu -- who in 2012 famously brandished a diagram showing how close the Islamic Republic was getting to nuclear weapons capability -- is expected to use his address to the summit to warn that Israel will not tolerate Iran entrenching militarily in southern Syria.

Following his speech, Netanyahu will depart New York arriving back in Israel in time to celebrate the Jewish New Year holiday on Wednesday evening.

(Staff with agencies)

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