White House: Obama will not meet with Netanyahu when he speaks to Congress



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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will not meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he travels to Washington in March.

A day after being caught off-guard by House Speaker John Boehner's invitation for the Israeli leader to address a joint meeting of Congress, the White House says the decision is in keeping with a "long-standing practice and principle" that the president does not meet with heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections.

Earlier in the day, Netanyahu accepted Boehner's invitation to speak about the threat posed by Iran. Congress is considering new sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program.

Obama has been urging Republicans, as well as some members of his own party, to hold off on passing new penalties while the U.S. and international partners are in the midst of nuclear negotiations with the Islamic republic.

Last week, British Prime Minister David Cameron said he has been making a similar case to U.S. lawmakers.

%@AP Links

204-w-36-(Mark Smith, AP White House correspondent, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.)--President Obama won't be meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the Israeli leader's upcoming visit to Washington. AP White House Correspondent Mark Smith reports. (22 Jan 2015)

<<CUT *204 (01/22/15)££ 00:36

216-a-09-(House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at news conference)-"his own country"-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says President Obama is right not to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when the Israeli leader visits Washington in March. (22 Jan 2015)

<<CUT *216 (01/22/15)££ 00:09 "his own country"

217-a-11-(House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at news conference)-"think it's appropriate"-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says Netanyahu shouldn't be lobbying Congress for more sanctions on Iran -- especially while delicate talks are under way. (22 Jan 2015)

<<CUT *217 (01/22/15)££ 00:11 "think it's appropriate"

APPHOTO WX105: FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2014 file photom President Barack Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. President Barack Obama will not meet with Netanyahu when he travels to Washington in March, the White House said Thursday, one day after being caught off-guard by Republicans' invitation for the Israeli leader to address a joint session of Congress. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File) (1 Oct 2014)

<<APPHOTO WX105 (10/01/14)££

APPHOTO DCSA121: House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, the morning after President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech. Boehner announced that he has asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress on dealing with terrorism, but did not consult the White House on the invitation. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (21 Jan 2015)

<<APPHOTO DCSA121 (01/21/15)££

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The Associated Press

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