Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was invited Wednesday by visiting White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to visit Washington and hold talks with President Barack Obama on security, cooperation and Middle East peace, dpa reported.
Netanyahu's meeting with the president will take place next week, Israeli media reported, following the premier's visit to Paris to participate in a meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which Israel has just been invited to join, and to Canada, where he will hold talks with government leaders.
In Washington, US State Department spokesman PJ Crowley confirmed Emanuel extended an invitation for Netanyahu to come in the "next couple of weeks" and that efforts were also underway to arrange a visit by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Emanuel, in Israel on a private visit to celebrate his son's bar mitzvah - the religious ceremony which symbolizes a Jewish boy's passage to manhood at the age of 13 - met Wednesday afternoon with Netanyahu.
According to Israel Army Radio, Israeli officials are pleased with the latest invitation to Washington, hoping it will erase memories of the previous Obama-Netanyahu meeting, which was held late at night and without the usual photo-op and seen as an indication of the tensions between Washington and Jerusalem.