Turkish PM Erdogan, disappoints Americans
Photo: Reuters

US senators: Netanyahu-Obama meeting encouraging

Senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Lindsey Graham arrive in Israel after visit to Iraq, Afghanistan, West Bank. Say Israel-US ties back on track, send threatening message to Iran, and berate Turkey

Following the positive atmosphere in the meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama in Washington, American Senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham on Wednesday expressed satisfaction with what appears to be a sign of reconciliation between the two leaders.


The three arrived in Israel after visiting Ramallah on Tuesday at the end of a tour in Iraq and Afghanistan. They spent the day meeting with high-ranking Israeli officials, including Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Later, they are scheduled to meet with IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, Intelligence & Atomic Energy Minister Dan Meridor and Opposition leader Tzipi Livni.


Senator Lieberman, the only democrat among the three, spoke positively of Netanyahu and Obama's talks during a press conference, but stressed the need to move forward with the peace process. He noted that in the 17 years since the Oslo Accords, direct negotiations have been held between Israeli and Palestinian leaders each year except for this past year. He said he believes that both Obama and Netanyahu understand the need for a change, and added that their meeting was a turning point.

John McCain (L), Ehud Barak and Joe Lieberman (Photo: AFP)


Lieberman said the two leaders' statements after the meeting indicate a positive trend. He said he found Netanyahu's call for direct talks with the Palestinians encouraging, and was satisfied with Obama's support of Israel's nuclear ambiguity and his remarks about the United State's historic commitment to Israel's security.


He said any other difference of opinion is nothing more than a dispute between allies. Despite the conflict, he stressed that relations between the two countries' intelligence services and defense establishments remain firm.


During their visit to the West Bank, the senators toured the Palestinian Authority's security forces training base in Jericho and said they found the site encouraging. They welcomed the calls for direct talks, and the possibility that they may begin within a number of weeks.


Lieberman also addressed the new sanctions against Iran's nuclear program and said its leaders must know that the US will not accept a nuclear Iran and will use any means possible to prevent it.


Regarding the drastic deterioration in ties between Israel and Turkey, Senator McCain said that while Turkey is one of the US's allies and a member of NATO, the US was "disappointed" with the actions and words Ankara used, and was also displeased with the agreement Turkey signed with Iran and Brazil.


Placing full responsibility for the crisis on Ankara, McCain stressed that the Turkish government must reduce tensions using diplomatic means.



פרסום ראשון: 07.07.10, 18:32
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