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Obama to visit Jordan in Spring
By Reuters - Feb 06,2013 - Last updated at Feb 06,2013
WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama plans to visit Jordan and the West Bank as part of an upcoming trip the region that will take him to Israel, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Tuesday.
Earlier, Carney confirmed Obama would travel to Israel in the spring, his first trip to Israel since taking office.
While the White House gave no exact dates for the trip, Israel's Channel 10 television station cited unnamed sources in Washington saying Obama would start his visit to Israel on March 20.
The choice of Israel, a close US ally, for Obama's first foreign travel since his January 21 inauguration will give the president and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a chance to try to repair their notoriously fractious relationship.
Their dealings have been especially testy over the past year because of differences over how to best confront Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Netanyahu is now occupied with forging a new governing coalition after centre-left challengers made surprising gains in last month's elections, something that Obama's aides believe could strengthen his hand with the hawkish prime minister.
But with Israel and the Palestinians deeply at odds over how to resume negotiations that broke down more than two years ago, any new US peace effort would face major obstacles.
Obama and Netanyahu discussed the president's coming trip in a January 28 telephone call, the White House and the Israeli prime minister's office said.
Making his first official visit to Israel, US President Barack Obama pledged on Wednesday unwavering commitment to the security of the Israel where concern over a nuclear-armed Iran has clouded bilateral relations.
In what is becoming an increasingly nasty grudge match, the White House is mulling ways to undercut Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's upcoming trip to Washington and blunt his message that a potential nuclear deal with Iran is bad for Israel and the world.
Palestinian officials said Thursday they hope President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to the region signals readiness to re-engage in Mideast peace efforts, but that negotiations can only resume if Washington is ready to get tough with Israel.
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