Netanyahu Aides: PM to Set Iran 'Red Lines' in UN Speech, Avoid Obama Clash

Prime minister touches down in New York ahead of planned UNGA address; Lieberman: Israel must present its position clearly, even if U.S. disagrees.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plane landed in New York on Thursday, ahead of his planned address before the United Nations General Assembly later in the day.

In his speech, the premier is expected to define Israel's 'red lines' in regards to Iran's nuclear program, without, however, initiating a public confrontation with U.S. President Barack Obama.

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Recent days have seen the renewal of contacts between Netanyahu's aides and White House officials, with both sides ostensibly attempting to relieve tensions between the two nations and showing that Washington's and Jerusalem's positions regarding Iran have become closer.

"In his speech, the prime minister will set a clear red line, but not one that will conflict with Obama's speech," a senior source in Netanyahu's entourage told reporters en route to New York, adding, "Obama said Iran won't have nuclear weapons, and the prime minister will present the ways in which that is achieved."

According to Netanyahu's aides, the premier is expected to say in his speech that Israel and the United States have a common goal, which is to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons capabilities.

"What Netanyahu will say is that the red line issue will aid in reaching that goal," a source in the PM's entourage said, adding that "Netanyahu is convinced that the United States and Israel can work together to achieve it."

The premier is expected to address the UNGA around 7:30 P.M., Israel time, one hour after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is due to speak before the assembly.

Despite the fact that the Palestinian issue is expected to take up less attention than during last year's meet, Netanyahu's aides indicated that the premier's speech will also include a reference to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who is accompanying Netanyahu on his trip to the UN, told reporters on board the PM's plane that the prime minister must put Israel's position forward in the best, clearest fashion.

According to Lieberman, that position may not always completely overlap with the U.S. position, adding that it wouldn’t be the first time that such a discrepancy exists.

"We’ve had [disagreements] between past Israeli and American governments, and that doesn't harm the close friendship between the nations and their commitment to one another," the foreign minister said.

Benjamin Netanyahu speaking during a press conference in Jerusalem, Sept. 11, 2012.Credit: AP

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