Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, will be accompanying Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in his next week visit to the United States to hold talk with President Barack Obama and other senior U.S. officials. The decision came after Barak canceled a trip to Spain. He denied reports claiming the he canceled the trip due to tension with Madrid over the identity of the new commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Southern Lebanon (UNIFIL).
Earlier in October, Netanyahu held secret talks with the Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, and asked him to keep his country in charge of the UNIFIL, and not to transfer the control to Spain.
Netanyahu said his country would like the Italian Major General Claudio Graziano to remain in his post for at least six more months.
Israel said it has nothing against Spain leading the UNIFIL, but claimed that replacing the commander under the current circumstances could lead to destabilizing the situation.
Barak and Netanyahu are expected to hold a meeting with the U.S. Middle East Envoy, George Mitchell, during their visit to Washington.
Officials from Israel are planning to hold talks with senior U.S. officials in Washington from November 8 to November 10.
The officials would be participating in the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities (UJC).
President Obama is scheduled to address the UJC on Monday, and intends meet Netanyahu. Obama would likely meet Barak too. The meetings are yet to be confirmed.
But sources at the White House said that Netanyahu did not coordinate his visit with Obama.
But Israeli officials said that Obama would meet Netanyahu for talks on the resumption of the peace process with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu also intends to discuss the so-called Iranian threat with Obama.
Barak and Netanyahu will be heading to Abu Dhabi this weekend to meet U.S. Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, and would then accompany her to Israel on Saturday.
Clinton is planning to separately meet Netanyahu and Barak in Jerusalem, and President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.