Obama calls Netanyahu to discuss counter-terrorism, Mideast



Obama calls Netanyahu to discuss counter-terrorism, Mideast Washington: US President Barack Obama called up Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu during which the two leaders discussed the Middle East peace process and counter-terrorism co-operation between the two countries.

"The two leaders also discussed US-Israeli cooperation on counter-terrorism, how best to move forward in efforts to advance Middle East peace, and the recent violence near the Gaza strip," the White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters yesterday after the telephonic conversation between the two leaders.

"The President called Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu today to convey his best wishes before the start of Passover. Noting that he would host a seder at the White House, the President recalled that the story of Passover is one of liberation and freedom, and expressed his hope that the Israeli people would be able to celebrate in peace," he said.

Carney said that Netanyahu expressed his deep appreciation for US funding for the Iron Dome rocket and mortar defence system, which he noted has successfully intercepted several rockets aimed at Israeli communities.

Obama congratulated Netanyahu on this impressive Israeli technological achievement and expressed his pride that Israeli-American cooperation made it possible, the White House official said.

With the signing of the fiscal year 2011 budget appropriation, Obama approved USD 205 million in US funding for Iron Dome, which is above the annual package of Foreign Military Financing for Israel, he added.

PTI