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Netanyahu: speech to Congress no ‘disrespect’ to Obama

The Israeli premier dismisses reports that U.S.-Israeli alliance on its demise

Published: Updated:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. pro-Israeli lobby group AIPAC on Monday that his upcoming speech to Congress is ‘not intended to show disrespect’ to President Barack Obama.

“You are here to tell the world that reports of the demise of the U.S. relationship is not only premature, but it is wrong,” the Israeli leader told the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Netanyahu is due to address Congress on Tuesday to lobby against ongoing U.S. efforts to reach a deal with Iran to curtail its nuclear program.

His visit to Washington has been criticized as a breach of diplomatic protocol: He was not invited by Obama and his speech will oppose White House foreign policy.

But Netanyahu told the annual AIPAC policy conference that the disagreement over the Iran talks would not harm the enduring alliance.

“My speech is not intended to show any disrespect to President Obama or the office that he holds. I have great respect for both,” he said.

“I deeply appreciate all the President Obama has done for Israel: Security cooperation, intelligence sharing, support in the U.N. and much more.”

[With AFP]