Netanyahu cancels Davos trip amid Trump speculation

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Trump Towers in New York City, September 25, 2016
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Unconfirmed reports claim Trump wants to invite Israeli leader to inauguration

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cancelled a planned January 18 trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, his office said Monday without explanation.

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not fly to Davos," a terse statement said.

There has been speculation Netanyahu could attend US President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration in Washington on January 20 or meet the incoming leader around that time.

Israeli daily Haaretz quoted unnamed aides as saying that the Davos cancellation was not connected to an ongoing police investigation into Netanyahu and noted his plans to meet Trump soon, though no date had been set.

"They also said a reason for the cancellation was the fact that several heads of state Netanyahu was to have met in Davos were not planning to attend the summit," Haaretz reported.

Last month the New York Post said Trump advisers wanted to invite Netanyahu to the inauguration "or arrange a meeting of the two leaders before then".

Trump spokesman Sean Spicer on Monday referred questions about Netanyahu's potential attendance at the inauguration to the prime minister's office.

Netanyahu's spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

Any invitation to the inauguration would be a break from protocol as normally only ambassadors attend.

Netanyahu was one of the first world leaders to call and congratulate Trump, speaking to him the day after his election victory and calling him "a true friend of the state of Israel".

Israeli police have so far questioned Netanyahu twice in a corruption probe that has looked into whether he unlawfully received gifts from wealthy supporters.

A lawyer for Netanyahu said Friday there was "nothing of substance" in the allegations.

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