Netanyahu, Trump Expected to Discuss Russia Crisis at UN General Assembly

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U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold a bilateral meeting during the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Trump and Netanyahu hold a meeting during the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York.Credit: \ CARLOS BARRIA/ REUTERS

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will fly to New York Tuesday morning to attend the United Nations General Assembly, which he will address Thursday evening (Israel time).

During his visit, Netanyahu is expected to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, as well as a number of world leaders, including Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, French President Emmanuel Macron, Polish President Andrzej Duda, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales and Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

On Friday, the prime minister is scheduled to meet with Jewish community leaders in the city before returing to Israel on Saturday night.

Netanyahu's meeting with Trump, scheduled for Wednesday morning (New York time), will be their fifth since Trump entered the White House. The two are expected to discuss the crisis with Moscow over the downed Russian plane in Syria and the threat posed by Iran’s military entrenchment in that country, the U.S. sanctions on Tehran and the U.S. pressure on the Palestinians in light of Trump’s efforts to deliver a “peace deal.”

Trump is scheduled to address the General Assembly Tuesday, prior to the Israeli delegation’s arrival; Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will deliver his speech Thursday, ahead of Netanyahu. Abbas is also expected to convene a meeting of heads of state as part of a bid to form a united front against U.S. pressure.

Netanyahu and Sissi met at the sidelines of last year’s General Assembly, in their first public meeting since Sissi became president in 2014. In a statement, the Prime Minister’s Office said the Egyptian leader expressed a desire to assist the efforts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians and in the region.

The two meet occasionally without informing the media, as in the January 2016 “Aqaba summit,” convened to discuss renewing the peace process, when Netanyahu and Sissi, together with Jordan’s King Abdullah and then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met in the Jordanian Red Sea resort. That gathering was first reported by Barak Ravid in Haaretz, about a year after it took place. A few months later, Sissi met in Cairo with Netanyahu and the leader of the Israeli opposition at the time, Isaac Herzog. Last month Ravid reported on Israel Channel 10 that Netanyahu met Sissi in Cairo in May to discuss Egyptian efforts to promote an agreement between Israel and Hamas over Gaza.

Culture Minister Miri Regev and Communications Minister Ayoub Kara will join Netanyahu on his visit to New York. In response to a question by Haaretz, Kara’s office said he was expected to present Israel’s position on the new nation-state law “as a Druze cabinet minister” and to hold meetings on communications. Regev’s office said she had “a few meetings” scheduled in New York but did not provide additional details before press time. Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi will also be in the city at the time of Netanyahu’s address; he flew to New York to attend a meeting of donors to the Palestinians as well as a meeting of foreign ministers convened by the UN secretary general on the topic of strengthening the peacekeeping forces. Opposition Chairwoman Tzipi Livni is also expected to fly to New York for “meetings on the sidelines of the General Assembly.”

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