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Obama, Netanyahu to meet in New York: White House

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President Barack Obama will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the White House said Sunday.

[WASHINGTON] President Barack Obama will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the White House said Sunday.

The two leaders will have a bilateral meeting Wednesday, with discussion topics likely to include the need for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "in the face of deeply troubling trends on the ground," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.

Mr Earnest said the meeting would afford Mr Obama and Mr Netanyahu an opportunity to discuss "the strong ties between the United States and Israel".

The two allies signed a new 10-year agreement last Wednesday in Washington. It calls for the United States to provide Israel US$38 billion of defense aid, beginning in 2019, the single-largest pledge of military assistance in US history.

Mr Netanyahu "will personally thank President Obama for the military aid agreement signed last week," the Israeli leader's office said in a statement.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu will discuss with President Obama the challenges in the Middle East and the ways to advance progress in peace and security," it said.

Mr Obama and Mr Netanyahu, who both took office in 2009, have had a notoriously difficult relationship, underscored by a series of incidents reflecting their strains.

The latest was Mr Netanyahu's last-minute cancellation of a White House visit in March. The US president, who learned of the cancellation through the media, did not hide his annoyance.

Mr Obama is expected to arrive late Sunday in New York for his final attendance at the UN General Assembly before he leaves office in January.

His schedule includes numerous bilateral meetings, including with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

AFP