US, Israel 'Unable to Agree' on Kerry Visit Date

CNN says conflicting announcements regarding the visit's timing show 'the level of disconnect' between the countries.

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Gil Ronen,

Netanyahu and Kerry in Rome
Netanyahu and Kerry in Rome
Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that US Secretary of State John Kerry would meet with him on Friday, but Kerry himself told reporters Monday he would be unable to make the trip so soon.

CNN says this was not a benign mix-up, and that the two countries “were unable to agree on when Kerry would next travel to Israel for talks with Netanyahu on the Iranian issue,” a fact that is “a sign of the level of disconnect” between Jerusalem and Washington.

Kerry said Monday he would not be able to visit Israel over the coming weekend, despite Netanyahu's announcement that he would. Instead, Kerry said he would try to visit Israel again after the November 28 Thanksgiving holiday. It will be his eighth visit to Israel since he took up the post as America's top diplomat in February.

“It looks as if I probably will not be able to get there over the course of this weekend,” Kery said. “But I am committed to going in order to engage in the ongoing discussions that we are currently engaged in shortly after the Thanksgiving break, as soon as we can work out the timings."

Kerry was speaking after talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at the State Department.

The US and Israel disagree strongly on whether or not sanctions on Iran should be eased in exchange for Iran's agreeing to partial limitations on its ability to create nuclear weapons. Israel says the sanctions must not be lifted until Iran agrees to stop all activity geared toward achieving nuclear weapon capacity, while the US is willing to settle for lesser limitations.