Trump in the Mid­dle East

U.S. pres­i­dent says he didn’t men­tion Is­rael in meet­ing with Rus­sians

Cape Breton Post - - World -

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Mon­day de­fended him­self against al­le­ga­tions he di­vulged clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion in a re­cent meet­ing with Rus­sian diplo­mats, say­ing along­side Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu that he never iden­ti­fied Is­rael in his Oval Of­fice con­ver­sa­tion.

At the end of his ap­pear­ance with Ne­tanyahu, Trump said that he “never men­tioned the word or the name Is­rael’’ in his con­ver­sa­tion with Rus­sia’s for­eign min­is­ter and am­bas­sador. “So you have an­other story wrong,’’ he said.

Var­i­ous re­ports, quot­ing anony­mous of­fi­cials, have said Trump did share clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion with Rus­sian diplo­mats about the threat posed by the Is­lamic State group, and sev­eral have said that in­for­ma­tion came from Is­raeli in­tel­li­gence. But news ac­counts have not ac­cused Trump of nam­ing Is­rael as a source of the in­for­ma­tion.

Ne­tanyahu said that U.S.-Is­raeli in­tel­li­gence co-op­er­a­tion is “ter­rific,’’ at­tempt­ing to dis­miss con­cerns that the in­ci­dent violated the con­fi­den­tial­ity of an agree­ment with Is­rael.

Ear­lier Mon­day, on Trump’s first visit to Is­rael as pres­i­dent, he said he sees a grow­ing recog­ni­tion among Mus­lim na­tions that they share a “com­mon cause’’ with Is­rael in their de­ter­mi­na­tion to counter threats posed by Iran.

Ar­riv­ing from Riyadh, Saudi Ara­bia, Trump ex­pressed his hope for co-op­er­a­tion among U.S. al­lies in the Mid­dle East. Is­rael was his sec­ond stop on a nine-day tour aimed to test the wa­ters for re­viv­ing the dor­mant Is­raeli-Pales­tinian peace process.

Trump, who had pre­vi­ously sug­gested that it would be eas­ier than an­tic­i­pated to solve the con­flict that has vexed his pre­de­ces­sors for decades, said that con­di­tions were right in both Is­rael and the Arab world to strike what he has called “the ul­ti­mate deal.’’

“We have be­fore us a rare op­por­tu­nity to bring se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity and peace to this re­gion and to its peo­ple,’’ Trump said upon his ar­rival in Tel Aviv.

AP PHOTO

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, left, talks dur­ing a brief­ing af­ter his meet­ing with Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu in Jerusalem on Mon­day.

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