|Syria and nukes on agenda for Obama-Netanyahu chat
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit the White House on September 30 to consult President Barack Obama on Iran's nuclear challenge, Syria and Palestinian peace talks.
“The president will welcome Israeli prime minister Netanyahu to the White House on Monday, September 30,'' White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
Before then, Obama will try to inject fresh momentum into US-brokered Israeli-Palestinian peace talks by meeting Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas at the UN, Palestinian sources said.
Carney said Obama and Netanyahu would discuss final status talks with the Palestinians, Iran, Syria's civil war and the chemical weapons crisis, as well as developments in the Middle East.
Netanyahu said he was keen to discuss Iran's nuclear program with Obama, ahead of expected new talks between Tehran and world powers.
“I intend to focus on the issue of stopping Iran's nuclear program,'' a statement from the Israeli leader's office said.
Israel will demand, Netanyahu said, that Iran halt all uranium enrichment, remove all enriched uranium from its territory, close its underground nuclear facility in Qom and stop building a plutonium reactor.
“Only a combination of these four steps will constitute an actual stopping of the nuclear program, and until all four of these measures are achieved, the pressure on Iran must be increased and not relaxed, and certainly not eased,'' Netanyahu said.
Israel is also a nuclear power. Experts Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris estimate that Israel has 80 nuclear warheads. In their report Global Nuclear Weapons Inventories, estimates that 50 were medium-range ballistic missiles and 30 were for bombs carried by aircraft, according to a report in the Guardian. –AFP