search

Netanyahu hints at Israel visit by VP Biden

PM says staffers of US vice president are arriving in Israel, but no official dates have been set

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left and US Vice President Joe Biden meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on January 21, 2015. (Haim Zach/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left and US Vice President Joe Biden meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on January 21, 2015. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said staffers for Joe Biden are arriving in Israel ahead of a possible visit by the US vice president.

Citing media reports that Biden was considering visiting Israel in the coming days, Netanyahu confirmed during the weekly cabinet meeting that the VP’s staff had begun arriving in Israel, though no official dates for a visit had been set.

Last month, Biden met Netanyahu in Davos, Switzerland, shortly after the US lifted sanctions on Iran as part of a nuclear deal. The US has sought to soften Israel’s concerns regarding the deal through discussions about a new long-term agreement on US military aid for Israel.

According to Netanyahu’s office, the two discussed security and strategic interests in the Middle East as well as energy.

“The meeting was friendly and warm and took place in an excellent atmosphere,” a Prime Minister’s Office official said at the time.

Biden’s last visit to Israel sparked a diplomatic spat with Washington in 2010, when Israel announced settlement construction plans during Biden’s visit.

On Saturday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power arrived in Israel for a series of high-level diplomatic talks aimed at restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks based on a two-state solution.

During Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Netanyahu called the recent lowering of tensions between Jerusalem and the EU that had stemmed from the bloc’s decision to label imports from West Bank settlements “a step in the right direction.”

On Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said both sides had “overcome the crisis,” after EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini assured Netanyahu the directive was “not a political step to determine future borders or to boycott Israel.”

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed