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Obama to host Netanyahu

Sept. 17, 2013 10:22 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 19, 2013 12:35 P.M.)
WASHINGTON (AFP) -- The White House confirmed Tuesday that US President Barack Obama will play host to Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington at the end of the month.

"The president will welcome Israeli prime minister Netanyahu to the White House on Monday, Sept. 30," spokesman Jay Carney said.

The US official said the two leaders would discuss progress on final status negotiations with the Palestinians, Iran, Syria and developments in the Middle East.

Earlier, Netanyahu said his talks with Obama would come ahead of the Israeli leader's appearance at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, with Iran's nuclear program high on the agenda.

"In another week-and-a-half or so I will travel to the UN General Assembly," Netanyahu said in a statement from his office.

"I will first meet with US President Barack Obama," a statement from Netanyahu's office quoted him as saying.

"I intend to focus on the issue of stopping Iran's nuclear program," he said.

Tehran is locked in a diplomatic stand-off with the West and Israel, who accuse the Islamic republic of trying to develop and build nuclear weapons. Iran denies the allegations.

Israel will demand, he said, that Iran halt all uranium enrichment, remove all enriched uranium from its territory, close its underground nuclear facility in Qom and stop building a plutonium reactor.

"Only a combination of these four steps will constitute an actual stopping of the nuclear program, and until all four of these measures are achieved, the pressure on Iran must be increased and not relaxed, and certainly not eased," Netanyahu said.
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