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Israel's Netanyahu to meet Trump, Clinton in New York

Netanyahu has warned against Obama making a "final push" for Palestinians [Getty]

Date of publication: 24 September, 2016

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Netanyahu will meet with rival US presidential candidates in New York as he expresses hope that Obama will not make a final push for Palestinian statehood.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet separately with American presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in New York on Sunday, an official in his office said.

"The meeting was agreed to with Trump first, then we reached out immediately to the Clinton camp for balance," the official told AFP without saying who proposed the first meeting.

Netanyahu is already in New York, where he addressed the UN General Assembly on Thursday.

Analysts say the Israeli premier is trying to avoid any impression of interfering in the American electoral campaign.

During the 2012 race for the White House, US officials criticised Netanyahu over his perceived support for Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

Romney visited Jerusalem during his campaign and criticised President Barack Obama's policies on the Middle East.

Trump had planned to visit Israel last December, but postponed the trip after his proposal to bar Muslims from entering the United States prompted worldwide condemnation.

In May, he told Israel Hayom, a free daily newspaper seen as close to Netanyahu, that he would visit Israel "soon".

Israel's prime minister said Saturday he hopes President Barack Obama refrains from pushing for a Palestinian state in his final months in office.

Netanyahu told Israel's Channel 2 TV that the issue didn't come up in this week's meeting with Obama in New York. But he noted the president has previously vetoed anti-Israel measures at the United Nations and said peace would not be achieved through speeches.

Netanyahu said he "can only hope that this consistent approach of the Americans continues until the end of his presidency."

After failing to reach a peace accord in his two terms in office, Obama is said to be considering a major speech or a US-backed UN Security Council resolution that lays out what he sees as the contours of any viable deal.

Netanyahu will meet with presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Sunday, an Israeli official said. The prime minister is still in the United States, and addressed the UN General Assembly earlier this week.

Israel is a close ally of the US, and presidential candidates often meet with Israeli leaders. However, neither Trump nor Clinton has visited in the current election cycle.

The Israeli official provided no further details on Sunday's meetings. He spoke on condition of anonymity pending an official announcement.

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