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Kirby says US looking to hold in-person meeting with Israel in ‘next week or so’

White House national security communications adviser John Kirby said Sunday the United States is looking to set an in-person meeting with Israeli officials in the “next week or so” after a virtual meeting took place this past week.

The meeting comes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled an initial plan for an Israeli delegation to travel to the U.S. to meet with counterparts about the operation in Rafah.

“We had a virtual meeting last week. We expect to have an in-person meeting with Israeli counterparts in the next week or so. We’re still narrowing down the schedule,” Kirby said in an interview with CBS News’s Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation.”

Netanyahu canceled the delegation after the U.S. abstained from a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a Gaza cease-fire during Ramadan, leading to “a lasting sustainable” cease-fire. The resolution also demanded the “immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.”

Israeli and U.S. officials subsequently held a virtual meeting this past week, and a U.S. official said at the time, “We anticipate follow up meetings in person following additional work by expert teams.”

On Sunday, Kirby referenced the plan for the forthcoming meeting, saying, “We hope to be able to present in more detail, our thinking, some of our alternatives, the kinds of things that we want them to learn from our own experiences, about how to do operations of this regard.”

When Israeli officials canceled the planned delegation to the U.S., Kirby responded at the time by saying the White House was “perplexed” by that decision. He said the White House’s abstention to the U.N. resolution was not a shift in its policy.

“A couple of points that need to be stated and in fact, restated. No. 1, it’s a nonbinding resolution. So, there’s no impact at all on Israel and Israel’s ability to continue to go after Hamas,” Kirby said at the time. “No. 2 … it does not represent a change at all in our policy. It’s very consistent with everything that we’ve been saying we want to get done here. And, we get to decide what our policy is.”

“The prime minister’s office seems to be indicating through public statements that we somehow changed here. We haven’t, and we get to decide what our policy is. It seems like the prime minister’s office is choosing to create a perception of daylight here when they don’t need to do that,” he added.

Source: The Hill

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