The PJ Tatler

White House: Obama, Bibi Talk for an Hour; PM Wasn't Rebuffed

The White House denied tonight that it rebuffed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s request for talks with President Obama.

In a readout released to the media after 9 p.m., the press office said that Obama spoke with Netanyahu by phone “for an hour tonight as a part of their ongoing consultations.”

“The two leaders discussed the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program, and our close cooperation on Iran and other security issue,” the statement said. “President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu reaffirmed that they are united in their determination to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and agreed to continue their close consultations going forward.”

Haaretz reported earlier that Netanayhu had asked to meet Obama when he’s in the U.S. for the UN General Assembly this month, but was told Obama would be too busy to get together.

“Contrary to reports in the press, there was never a request for Prime Minister Netanyahu to meet with President Obama in Washington, nor was a request for a meeting ever denied,” the White House said in tonight’s statement.

The Obama-Netanyahu chat comes after Netanyahu criticized Washington’s wait-and-see policy on sanctions and diplomacy to steer the Islamic Republic away from nukes.

“The world tells Israel: Wait. There’s still time. And I say: Wait for what? Wait until when?” Netanyahu said. “Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.”