Obama and Netanyahu to meet July 6

WASHINGTON Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:04am EDT

President Barack Obama faces reporters in the State Dining Room after meeting with BP executives about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, at the White House in Washington, June 16, 2010. REUTERS/Larry Downing

President Barack Obama faces reporters in the State Dining Room after meeting with BP executives about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, at the White House in Washington, June 16, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Sunday hailed Israel's easing of its land blockade of Gaza and said President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would discuss further steps when they meet in Washington on July 6.

The White House welcomed Israel's new rules for its land embargo, which has drawn heightened international criticism since a deadly raid on an aid flotilla bound for the Hamas-run Palestinian territory.

"We believe that the implementation of the policy announced by the government of Israel today should improve life for the people of Gaza," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

Israel said it would start allowing in all goods over land except for weapons and materials that can be used to make them.

But Israel did not ease its sea blockade on Gaza, despite international calls to do so since commandos killed nine pro-Palestinian activists during the interception of a Turkish aid vessel on May 31. Israeli officials said the troops acted in self-defense when attacked during boarding.

Obama, in talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on June 9, called for a "new conceptual framework" to replace the Israeli embargo. But he stopped short of joining a broader international outcry against Israel, a staunch U.S. ally.

Netanyahu, who was due to see Obama on June 1 but scrapped his trip because of the flotilla crisis, will now meet Obama at the White House on July 6.

Gibbs said the United States would work with all parties to "explore additional ways to improve the situation in Gaza, including greater freedom of movement and commerce between Gaza and the West Bank."

"There is more to be done, and the president looks forward to discussing this new policy, and additional steps, with Prime Minister Netanyahu during his visit to Washington," he said.

Obama and Netanyahu are also expected to try to mend fences after recent strains over Jewish settlement construction on occupied land.

In another meeting between Obama and a key ally in the Middle East, Saudi King Abdullah will visit Washington for talks on June 29, the White House said.

Gibbs said Obama "looks forward to discussing with King Abdullah the strengthening of bilateral ties between the United States and Saudi Arabia as well as a range of common concerns related to Gulf security, peace in the Middle East and other regional and global matters."

(Reporting by Matt Spetalnick; Editing by John O'Callaghan)

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Comments (4)
STORYBURNnice wrote:
The US needs to cut Israel loose

Jun 21, 2010 7:01am EDT  --  Report as abuse
WhosOnFirst wrote:
Too bad he can’t be arrested and sent to the Hague for trial for crimes against humanity, or arrested in the US for the death of a US citizen on the aid ships. But this administration cares more about foreign squatters than US citizens. Any campaign poster of a foreigner firster should have their forehead on their poster marked SFFFS for Squandered Fortune For Foreign Squatters.

Jun 21, 2010 8:00pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
WhosOnFirst wrote:
So much for his Cairo speech. He blocked any attempt to have an independent investigation into the attack and piracy of the aid ships, and this was a NATO ally. He doesn’t seem to care that a US citizen was murdered. He supports sanctions against a NPT signer in violation of that treaty, and international law yet shields a non-signer that has been shown to have tried to proliferate nuclear weapons to another apartheid state. Supports aid to that proliferator in violation of US law, giving a wink and a nod to the “ambiguity” of whether Israel has nuclear weapons and does not call for inspections or sanctions. And his secretary of state wants the people of the world that would stand up for justice to quiet down until the facts come out. But having blocked an independent investigation in favor of the violators reporting on themselves, that’s never going to happen. How insulting to the intelligence of those respectful of justice can you get. So much for his Cairo speech.

Jun 21, 2010 8:01pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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