© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Cypriot President Anastasiades meet in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday acknowledged differences with US President Joe Biden on Iranian and Palestinian issues, but said they have a “very strong” working relationship.
The White House denied Friday that Biden berated Netanyahu for not including him on an early round of phone calls to foreign leaders since taking office on Jan. 20.
Rejecting any notion that Biden was deliberately excluding him, Netanyahu told Israel’s Channel 12 television network, “He will call … We have had very close friendly relations for almost 40 years since I came to Washington as an Israeli diplomat and he was a young senator from Delaware. “
There has been speculation that the Democratic President might signal displeasure with Netanyahu’s close ties with former President Donald Trump, who called the right-wing leader two days after his inauguration in 2017.
“We also have a lot of things that we can agree on and the alliance is very strong,” said Netanyahu. “But there are also differences, both on the Iran question and the Palestinian question.”
Netanyahu could test the alliance if Washington restores US participation in the Iranian nuclear deal, from which Trump has withdrawn, and speaks out against building an Israeli settlement on occupied land on which Palestinians seek statehood.
On Friday, the White House said Biden and Netanyahu would speak soon but did not give a date.
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