President Peres to Meet Obama in Washington Next Week

Peres first Israeli statesman to meet Obama; Netanyahu's Mideast policy review to be done before U.S. trip.

President Shimon Peres will meet U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington next week, the president's office announced Tuesday.

The meeting will come during Peres's visit to the United States to take part in a summit held by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel lobby group, the president's office said in a statement.

Peres will be the first Israeli statesman to meet Obama since the inauguration last month of the right-leaning government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu, who risks friction with the Obama administration over peacemaking with Palestinians, will meet the American president next month.

Obama has said reviving stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks with the goal of establishing a Palestinian state is a top priority for his administration. But Netanyahu has so far refused to commit himself to Palestinian statehood in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

An aide to Netanyahu on Tuesday said the prime minister's review of Israel's policy on the Middle East is expected to be completed by the time he visits the United States next month.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Haaretz on Monday that he believes Netanyahu will present the U.S. administration a diplomatic plan in line with the principle of "two states for two nations" during his upcoming visit to Washington.

The prime minister's office would not comment on Barak's remarks, but Netanyahu's aide said the policy review was under way and should be completed around the time Netanyahu goes to Washington.