- The Washington Times - Friday, September 28, 2012

President Obama spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by phone Friday, after failing to take the opportunity to meet with him in person during a visit to the U.N. General Assembly in New York earlier this week.

The two leaders “underscored that they are in full agreement on the shared goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” the White House said. The statement said Mr. Netanyahu “welcomed President Obama’s commitment” at the U.N. to achieve that goal.

Within 30 minutes of the White House announcing that the president had spoken to Mr. Netanyahu, the campaign of Republican nominee Mitt Romney said he, too, was on the phone with the Israeli leader. Mr. Romney was making the call from a car on the runway at Philadelphia International Airport, after holding a campaign event in suburban Philadelphia, according to a pool report by reporters traveling with the candidate.

Mr. Romney has accused Mr. Obama of not giving Israel his full support, and the Republican is promising to have a better diplomatic relationship with Mr. Netanyahu, whom he knew as a business associate when he was in the private sector before starting his political career.

At the U.N. on Tuesday, Mr. Obama said the United States will “do what we must” to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Mr. Netanyahu, in a widely noted speech to the gathering Thursday, told the U.N. delegates that Iran will have completed about 90 percent of what it needs for a nuclear bomb by next summer, defining that stage as the “red line” which Israel and the U.S. must not allow Iran to cross.

“The two leaders took note of the close cooperation and coordination between the governments of the United States and Israel regarding the threat posed by Iran — its nuclear program, proliferation and support for terrorism — and agreed to continue their regular consultations on this issue going forward,” the White House said.

The phone call was “part of their regular consultations” and served as a follow-up to Mr. Netanyahu’s meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to the White House statement.

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