US Speaker of the House John Boehner announced Wednesday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been invited to address a joint session of Congress on the grave threats of radical Islam and the threat that Iran poses.
WASHINGTON, January 22 (Sputnik) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was invited to address Congress next month to discuss radical Islam and Iran, US Speaker of the House John Boehner said Wednesday, in a move the White House described as a break from protocol.
“I have invited prime minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress on the grave threats of radical Islam and the threat that Iran poses not only to the Middle East, but frankly to world,” Boehner, a Republican, announced at a press briefing Wednesday, without previously notifying the White House or State Department.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Air Force One en route to Boise, Idaho, called the invitation “interesting,” suggesting it was a break from standard protocol.
“The typical protocol would suggest that the leader of a country would contact the leader of another country when he’s traveling there. That’s certainly how President Obama’s trips are planned when he travels overseas. This particular event seems to be a departure from that protocol,” Earnest said.
Earnest didn’t say whether Obama would meet with Netanyahu. “We haven’t heard from the Israelis directly about the trip,” Earnest said. Israel hasn’t officially confirmed the visit.
Netanyahu’s address to Congress would come ahead of Israeli elections, scheduled for March 17.
Congress is pushing for tougher sanctions on Iran, which the Obama administration has said would undermine negotiations with Iran at a critical juncture as international powers are trying to reach an agreement with Iran over its nuclear program before a July deadline. Obama has said he would veto any additional sanctions passed by Congress.
The White House on Wednesday said Republicans appeared to want to add pressure to gain support for additional sanctions.
By Sputnik News
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