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White House criticises Netanyahu’s planned trip to speak at Congress

The White House criticised Israel’s Prime Minister; Benjamin Netanyahu planned visit to address a joint session of Congress next month, describing it as “departure from protocol”.

White House Spokesman Josh Ernest told reporters in a daily briefing yesterday that US officials have reservations about the Israeli premier’s visit.

“Typically, a foreign leader contacts the leader of the country when he plans to visit,” Earnest said, adding that the courtesy is “how President Obama’s trips are planned when he travels overseas.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry voiced similar criticism saying he regrets to learn about Netanyahu’s speech before the Congress in a manner that is unprecedented in protocol. Adding that Netanyahu remains “welcome” in the United States.

He said it was “uncommon” to learn about Netanyahu’s speech at the US Congress through the Republicans’ statement and not directly from the Israeli prime minister.

House Speaker John Boehner invited Netanyahu to speak before Congress next month about “the serious threats posed by radical Islam and Iran”.

An official at Netanyahu’s office said that the Israeli premier accepted the invitation noting that Netanyahu also discussed the possibility of meeting with President Barack Obama during his visit.

The visit comes five weeks before the Israeli elections scheduled for 17 March.

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