Updated: November 8, 2009 15:37 IST

Netanyahu leaves for US; may meet Obama

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Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
AP Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left on Sunday morning for the United States, but it was unclear whether he would meet there with President Barack Obama.

The Israeli leader is set to address Jewish community activists in the US and although Israeli media said he would also meet Obama on Monday, there was no official confirmation that a meeting would take place.

Mr. Netanyahu’s visit to the US comes as Israel and Washington are still trying to find a formula which will facilitate the restart of peace talks with the Palestinians, suspended a year ago as Israel entered an election period.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has insisted the Palestinians will not return to the negotiating table unless Israel completely halt all construction in West Bank settlements.

Mr. Netanyahu has said that while Israel will build no new settlements, it will go ahead with construction inside the existing ones. The Obama administration, which initially demanded complete construction halt, has been holding talks with Israeli officials for months to try and find a compromise on the issue.

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