Israel Political Brief March 14, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu cancels European trip to France & Spain, citing volatile situation in Israel’s south



Netanyahu cancels European trip, citing volatile situation in Israel’s south

The explanation given by Prime Minister’s office is a bit strange, especially in light of the fact that it was released after a renewed ceasefire was announced in the Gaza Strip.

Source: Haaretz, 3-14-12

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled his planned visit to Paris and Madrid, which was on Wednesday, due to the “security situation in southern Israel,” despite the renewed calm in the Gaza Strip.

Attempts at coordinating the visits to France and Spain began after Netanyahu’s return to Israel from the AIPAC conference in Washington. Israeli embassies in Paris and Madrid were asked to inquire whether the Élysée Palace and Spain’s prime minister’s office would allow Netanyahu to visit on March 21 and 22.

Netanyahu and Sarkozy - AP Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Photo by: AP

According to an Israeli official, the Prime Minister’s Office clarified that Netanyahu was interested to discuss the Iran issue with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and newly-elected Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Netanyahu sought to update the two European leaders regarding Israel’s stance, as he did during his meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama during his Washington trip.

Israeli embassies began making initial contact and received positive responses. Both the French and the Spanish stated that Sarkozy and Rajoy were very interested in meeting Netanyahu….READ MORE

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