After Netanyahu’s U-turn: US yet to confirm date of Israeli delegation’s visit

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The White House said it is still working to reschedule its meeting with the Israeli delegation who Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pulled from meeting with the US following its abstention in the United Nations Security Council ceasefire resolution vote. 

“The tone throughout here has been businesslike and it’s been professional and we expect that it’s going to stay that way. We’re hoping that this meeting can be scheduled in person here in Washington as was the original plan,” White House National Security spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday. “That’s the plan that we’re still working on now. But again, no final date. And when we get that we’ll let you know.”

The White House is still positing that a major ground of Rafah would be a mistake as it’s a “tight piece of geography,” as Kirby said. 

“We haven’t, and we’re probably not going to agree with the Israelis on every single thing when it comes to their military operations,” Kirby said, “but we both agree on the main important thing, and that is that we can allow Hamas to be able to conduct another attack like they did on the seventh of October.”

John Kirby, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, answers questions during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, US, February 17, 2023. (credit: REUTERS/EVELYN HOCKSTEIN)

Kirby addresses situation on Israel’s northern border

Kirby also addressed the growing conflict on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.

“We’ve also been very, very clear we do not support a war in Lebanon. We don’t want to see that happen. We’ve been crystal clear about that since the very beginning of this,” Kirby said. “Restoring calm along that border remains a top priority for President Biden and from the administration, and it has to be of the utmost importance, we believe as well, for both Lebanon and Israel.”



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