(Story corrects date of Netanyahu’s U.N. address in first paragraph)
By Ori Lewis
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday he would meet U.S. President Donald Trump later this month during a visit to New York, where he will address the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 19.
Netanyahu spoke to reporters accompanying him on a trip to Latin America before his plane left Tel Aviv for Argentina on Sunday night. He will also visit Colombia and Mexico before heading to New York.
In Washington, the White House did not initially respond to a request for a comment on a meeting between the two leaders.
“From Mexico I will go to New York to speak at the United Nations General Assembly and there I will meet my friend, President Donald Trump,” Netanyahu said.
He added best wishes “to all our friends in the U.S. to overcome these difficult hours (during Hurricane Irma).”
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is also set to address at the U.N. General Assembly but there has been no word of a possible meeting between him and Netanyahu.
Netanyahu said he was the first incumbent Israeli prime minister to visit South America and termed his visit as “historic”. The trip comes as Netanyahu is under investigation in two corruption cases.
One of those, known as Case 1000, involves gifts that the prime minister and his family may have received from businessmen, while Case 2000 deals with alleged efforts by him to secure better coverage from an Israeli newspaper publisher.
Netanyahu, who has been prime minister for 11 years over four terms, has denied any wrongdoing.
Netanyahu leads a relatively stable coalition government and presides over a buoyant economy. His conservative Likud party has rallied behind him in the absence of clear rivals for the leadership, rebuffing calls for his departure from the center-left opposition.
On Friday, Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, who is accompanying him on the trip was notified that Israel’s attorney general is considering indicting her on suspicion of using state funds for personal dining and catering services totaling some $100,000.
A post on the prime minister’s Facebook page published last week said the claims against her were “absurd and will be proven to be unfounded”.
Sara Netanyahu also spoke before departure and thanked the “many, many, many thousands of Israeli citizens and people around the world who support and help me.”
Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton in Washington, Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Catherine Evans and Sandra Maler