In possible snub, official U.S. schedule omits Barak-Clinton meet
White House confirms Defense Minister is indeed to meet U.S. Secretary of State, despite the fact that his name is not included in the official schedule.
In what could be seen as yet another sign of the deterioration of Defense Minister Ehud Barak's international standing, the official U.S. State Department schedule failed to mention a meeting between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the defense minister.
Barak, who arrived on an official U.S. visit late Tuesday, was scheduled to meet Secretary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Bob Gates, and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon in the White House.
However the State Department's official schedule failed to mention Barak in name, describing the meeting as: "Secretary Clinton meets with Secretary of Defense Bob Gates and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, at the White House."
When asked to verify if the defense minister will indeed take part in the meeting, a White House spokesperson told Haaretz that Barak is indeed scheduled to take part in it.
The State Department released a clarification later Wednesday, stating that Secretary Clinton will join National Security Adviser Tom Donilon and Secretary Bob Gates at the White House for a meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak," adding that participants would "discuss a range of issues, I'm certain that Egypt among them."
In the past, Barak was received at the Pentagon with honor guard. This time, Barak’s visit is a low-profile one, with no press briefings scheduled before his departure to New-York, for a meeting with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
Barak also met Congresswoman Kay Granger, House Majority leader Eric Cantor as well as Democratic whip Steny Hoyer, and is scheduled to return to Israel on Friday.
In another recent sign of Barak's apparent political weakening, the defense minister was not included in the schedule of Spanish foreign minister Trinidad Jimenez, who visited Israel earlier this week.
Instead, Jimenez made an appointment with the interim Labor chairman, Micha Harish, who had replaced Barak after the latter quit the Labor party to form a new faction, Atzmaut.
Spanish diplomats who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitive nature of the subject said that the fact that Jimenez is not meeting Barak stems from a decision made during preparations for the visit.
"After Barak left labor he has no political influence in the coalition," a Spanish diplomat said.
"In political matters we will talk with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Lieberman, and when our defense minister visits Israel she will meet with Barak and discuss with him security issues pertaining to his ministry, which are his responsibility."