Biden floats meeting with Israel to discuss US security aid

AP , Thursday 10 Sep 2015

Joe Biden
File photo: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (Photo: Reuters)

The United States wants to meet with Israel to discuss how the U.S. can ensure Israel's military advantage over its enemies, Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday. U.S. officials said such a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu was already in the works.

Biden raised the prospect of increased U.S. support for Israel as he sought to allay concerns among American Jews over the nuclear deal with Iran. Although Biden hosts Jewish leaders for a reception each year ahead of the Jewish High Holy Days, this year's confab took on heightened significance, with many of the attendees among the most ardent opponents of the nuclear deal.

Ad-libbing in front of a few dozen guests at his official residence, Biden said the U.S. was "fully, thoroughly prepared" to sit down with Israel's intelligence and defense community to ask a simple question: "What do you need?" He turned to an aide and asked, "Have we announced the meeting with the Israelis?"

It was unclear which U.S. or Israeli officials would be attending the meeting, and when. But a senior Obama administration official said the U.S is discussing possible dates with Israel for a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — the first such meeting since the Iran deal sent U.S.-Israeli relations into a deep chill. The administration official wasn't authorized to comment by name and requested anonymity.

The U.S. expects Obama and Netanyahu to meet "in the coming months," said the official, who wasn't authorized to comment by name and requested anonymity. In previous years, Obama and Netanyahu have held one-on-one meetings in September, around the time of the U.N. General Assembly.

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