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Mar 20, 2015

Netanyahu row casts doubt on Obama pledge to ‘have Israel’s back’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama, who once famously said he would “always have Israel’s back,” may be rethinking that promise as aides begin weighing options in response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pre-election disavowal of a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict.

Following Obama’s warning that the United States would “reassess” its relationship with Israel, the administration is not only reconsidering the diplomatic cover it has long given Israel at the United Nations but is also looking at a range of other possibilities to put pressure on its historically close ally, U.S. officials said.

Mar 19, 2015

Obama tells Netanyahu U.S. to ‘reassess’ policy on Israel, Mideast diplomacy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama told Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday that Washington would “reassess” its options on U.S.-Israel relations and Middle East diplomacy after the Israeli prime minister took a position against Palestinian statehood during his re-election campaign, a White House official said.

Obama’s telephone call to Netanyahu followed a television interview in which the Israeli leader backed away from his pre-election declaration that there would be no Palestinian state on his watch, an about-face apparently aimed at quelling U.S. criticism triggered by his comments.

Mar 19, 2015

Netanyahu backs away from rejection of Palestinian state; White House unmoved

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied on Thursday abandoning his commitment to the eventual creation of a Palestinian state, backing away from pre-election comments that deepened a rift with Israel’s ally the United States.

But the White House, unmoved by Netanyahu’s post-election effort to backtrack, delivered a fresh rebuke against the Israeli leader and signaled that Washington may reconsider its long-standing policy of shielding Israel from international pressure at the United Nations.

Mar 18, 2015

With Israeli vote in, Netanyahu could remain thorn in Obama’s side

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – After six years of testy relations, U.S. President Barack Obama may have to resign himself to the likelihood that he has not seen the last of Benjamin Netanyahu.

A better-than-expected showing by the Israeli prime minister in Tuesday’s closely fought election raises the prospect that he could remain a thorn in Obama’s side, with the two men increasingly at odds over Iran diplomacy and Middle East peacemaking.

Mar 16, 2015

No place for Assad in Syria talks, U.S. officials say

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States insisted on Monday it would never negotiate directly with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, edging away from comments made by Secretary of State John Kerry, and it cast doubt on any immediate prospects for third-party talks to resolve Syria’s civil war.

Kerry’s apparent suggestion in a CBS television interview on Sunday that there could be a place for Assad in efforts to reach a diplomatic solution to the Syrian conflict drew swift criticism from European and Arab allies.

Mar 13, 2015

Senior U.S. diplomat to return to Havana for new Cuba talks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government is moving as quickly as possible to decide whether to remove Cuba from the U.S. list of terrorism-sponsoring countries, a senior State Department official said on Friday ahead of a new round of talks in Havana next week.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, offered no timetable for a decision but said that Washington disagreed with Havana’s effort to link the issue to broader negotiations on reopening embassies and restoring diplomatic relations that were severed more than 50 years ago.

Mar 4, 2015

Israel’s Netanyahu draws rebuke from Obama over Iran speech to Congress

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the United States on Tuesday that it was negotiating a bad deal with Iran that could spark a “nuclear nightmare,” drawing a rebuke from President Barack Obama and exposing a deepening U.S.-Israeli rift.

They delivered dueling messages within hours of each other.

Netanyahu made his case against Obama’s Iran diplomacy in a speech to Congress that aligned himself with the president’s Republican foes. Obama responded in the Oval Office, declaring in a frustrated tone that Netanyahu offered “nothing new.”

Mar 3, 2015

Israel’s Netanyahu to address Congress on Iran, faces partial boycott

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Almost a quarter of Democratic U.S. lawmakers are expected to boycott Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday as he escalates his campaign against President Barack Obama’s Iran diplomacy in a speech to Congress that has put unprecedented stress on the two leaders’ already strained ties.

Although given the cold shoulder by the U.S. administration, Netanyahu on Monday offered an olive branch, saying he meant no disrespect to Obama by accepting an invitation to speak to U.S. lawmakers that was orchestrated by the president’s rival Republicans.

Mar 2, 2015

On U.S. visit, Netanyahu warns an Iran deal could threaten Israel’s existence

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the United States on Monday that the nuclear deal it is negotiating with Iran could threaten Israel’s survival and insisted he had a “moral obligation” to speak up about deep differences with President Barack Obama on the issue.

In a preview of a planned address to Congress on Tuesday that has already imperiled U.S.-Israeli ties, Netanyahu voiced fears that talks between Iran and world powers would allow Tehran to become a nuclear-armed state and said this must not happen.

Mar 2, 2015

Netanyahu arrives in U.S., signs of easing of tensions over Iran speech

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and Israel showed signs of seeking to defuse tensions on Sunday ahead of a speech in Washington by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he will warn against a possible nuclear deal with Iran.

Policy differences over the negotiations with Iran remained firm, however, as Netanyahu arrived in the United States on Sunday afternoon for a speech to Congress, which has imperiled ties between the two allies.

    • About Matt

      "White House correspondent who has covered news on four continents for Reuters, from Latin American coups and drug wars to the O.J. Simpson murder trial in Los Angeles to the Balkans conflict to the second Palestinian Intifada to the Iraq war. He has covered George W. Bush and is now covering President Barack Obama."
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