WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his sit-down on Monday with US President Barack Obama was “one of the best meetings I’ve had with him.”
Speaking to reporters moments after his two-and-half hour powwow with Obama, Netanyahu said the discussion focused mainly on Israel’s security needs and American military aid to Israel, and steps on the ground Jerusalem intends to take to stabilize relations with the Palestinians. Netanyahu is to meet with Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday to discuss such steps.
The president did not ask Netanyahu to freeze settlements, Netanyahu said. His controversial appointment of Ran Baratz as his new communications director did not come up during the meeting, the prime minister added, reiterating that he will “deal with the matter” upon his return to Israel.
“What you saw from the outside is also what transpired on the inside. It was one of the best meetings I’ve had with Obama,” Netanyahu said.
“The conversation was in very good spirits and very honest; no one hid the disagreements between us. Rather, we focused on how to go forward,” he added.
The two leaders discussed ways to ensure Iran doesn’t violate the agreement and possible means to counter the regime’s aggressive behavior, the prime minister said.
The description ran counter to what many analysts expected to be a tense meeting after a year in which ties between the two have become frayed over the Iranian nuclear issue and settlement building.
But Netanyahu said that, as opposed to past meetings, this one was not confrontational.
Israel currently receives about $3 billion in military aid per year from the US, but reportedly seeks about $5 billion.
“We didn’t focus on the exact sum, but I presented our needs,” Netanyahu said, adding that the president signaled understanding and willingness to increase the administration’s aid.
Read the full article at Times of Israel