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Friday, 12 April, 2002, 09:09 GMT 10:09 UK
Netanyahu talks tough to US
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses US senators on Capitol Hill
Israeli officials said Netanyahu presented "his own views"
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By Justin Webb
BBC Washington correspondent
line

The former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has tried to convince the White House that its ties with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat should be broken and an attack on Iraq should be mounted as soon as possible.

Yasser Arafat
Netanyahu reportedly suggested Arafat was working with Iran

Mr Netanyahu saw both President Bush's National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, and the Vice-President Dick Cheney.

Mr Netanyahu requested and was granted the right to take his hardline message to the pair - two of Mr Bush's most senior advisers - and thus to the ear of the President.

Mr Cheney and Ms Rice gave the former prime minister 40 minutes to make his case.

'His own views'

Neither side spoke publicly afterwards but sources travelling with Mr Netanyahu said he had repeated his view that the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat should be expelled from the conflict area in the Middle East.

It is understood that Mr Netanyahu suggested Mr Arafat was working in co-ordination with Iran, which backs Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas, and with Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

He claimed that postponing an attack on Baghdad was actually encouraging Middle East violence.

Israeli officials here say that Mr Netanyahu was presenting his own views, but he spoke by telephone to Israel's current Prime Minister Mr Sharon, both before and after the meeting.

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See also:

12 Apr 02 | Middle East
Powell begins key peace talks
11 Apr 02 | Middle East
Jenin after the battle
10 Apr 02 | Middle East
Jerusalem's deserted streets
11 Apr 02 | Middle East
Arafat 'not a partner for peace'
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