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Israeli PM to meet Obama on March 5: White House

US President Barack Obama has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit the White House for talks on March 5, Obama`s office said on Monday.



Washington: US President Barack Obama has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit the White House for talks on March 5, Obama`s office said on Monday.

The visit, which comes amid rising tensions with Iran, was arranged during a three-day trip to Israel by US national security adviser Tom Donilon for talks with Netanyahu, defense minister Ehud Barak and other top Israeli officials.

"Mr Donilon relayed to Prime Minister Netanyahu that the president looks forward to meeting with him at the White House on March 5," the White House said in a statement.

Netanyahu`s office said earlier this month the prime minister would visit the United States at the beginning of March, but this was the first time a date had been set and the Obama talks confirmed.

The visit will come after several rounds of so-called exploratory talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, and amid increased speculation over whether Israel is planning to attack Iranian nuclear facilities.

During his visit to Washington, Netanyahu was also to deliver a speech at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobby group.

Israeli President Shimon Peres is also to speak at the conference in Washington, which runs from March 4-6, according to AIPAC`s website.

US politicians flock to AIPAC, in large part to air their pro-Israel positions, and with the November election approaching, this year`s event is set to be even more hotly political than usual.

In 2008, the main presidential candidates including Obama, fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton and then-Republican candidate John McCain all addressed the conference.

Netanyahu`s last visit to the United States was in late September, when he attended the UN General Assembly as the Palestinians presented a bid for full UN membership, which the Jewish state and Washington opposed.

Netanyahu met Obama on the sidelines of that meeting.

PTI

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