Before backtracking, Israel’s Channel 2 originally reported that Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman indicated she would no longer brief Israel on the Iran negotiations.
The White House and State Department denied a report on Israeli television that the US would stop updating Israeli officials on the status of Iranian nuclear negotiations in retaliation for Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress in March.
An official statement by the White House called the report “patently false.” The statement continued: “National Security Advisor Rice maintains regular contact with her Israeli counterpart National Security Advisor [Yossi] Cohen on the full range of issues of mutual concern to our nations, and will in fact meet with him later this week at the White House. We also continue our frequent and routine contact at various professional levels within the intelligence, military, and diplomatic spheres.”
The State Department added, “Secretary [of State John] Kerry continues his conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu about this issue, as has always been the case.”
The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that the US and Israel were still in communication, stating, “The strategic ties between Israel and the US run deep. Yossi Cohen, the head of the Israel National Security Council, will go this week to Washington to attend a conference, where he will meet [Secretary Kerry and Advisor Rice].”
Israel’s Channel 2 had originally reported that Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who is in charge of the nuclear talks with Iran, indicated she would no longer brief Israel about the talks. The news report also said that National Security Advisor Susan Rice would cut off contact with her Israeli counterpart, Yossi Cohen.
Tensions have been running high between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu over a planned speech by Netanyahu to the American Congress next month, just two weeks before the March Israeli elections. Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), the speaker of the US House of Representatives, has admitted to issuing the invitation without clearing it with the White House. Obama is refusing to meet with Netanyahu during his visit, noting the upcoming elections.
By: World Israel News Staff