Netanyahu schedules April trips to Cairo, Amman, Washington, Moscow

debkafile‘s political sources reveal Binyamin Netanyahu’s planned launch of his second term as prime minister with a flurry of diplomacy. Thursday, April 2, the day after his government’s inception, trips to Cairo and Jordan had already been scheduled for talks with president Hosni Mubarak and King Abdullah II, followed by a visit to Washington to meet President Barack Obama and to Moscow for talks with prime minister Vladimir Putin.
Netanyahu is considering becoming the first Israeli prime minister to visit the Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
This goodwill visit, if approved by the security authorities, would denote the new government’s recognition of the PA and its willingness to cooperate in strengthening the Palestinian administration politically and economically in accordance with the Middle East road map – though not the Annapolis formula of two states for the two peoples.
According to our sources, Netanyahu held long discussions before deciding on the gestures or “concessions” he would offer his Egyptian and Jordanian hosts.
The Israeli prime minister has become convinced that he and the Egyptian president have many mutually profitable fields of strategic cooperation to discuss. He was apparently won over by defense minister Ehud Barak’s proposition, followed during his service with the Olmert government, whereby strategic cooperation with Cairo, pursued discreetly and at the highest levels, must be the linchpin of Israel’s Arab relations.
In Amman, debkafile‘s sources reveal, Netanyahu will promise to prevent West Bank Palestinians swarming across the border into the kingdom. As a special gesture for the king, he will undertake to maintain the freeze on Israeli construction in the sensitive E1 sector connecting Jerusalem to the town of Maale Adummim.
The prime minister’s immediate travel plans demonstrate the high priority he assigns to establishing the credibility of his government and leadership in the international community and mending the damage wrought to Israel’s image in recent years. He has put this mission ahead even of an urgent overhaul of the economy.
Netanyahu started the ball rolling Wednesday, April 1, when Obama phoned to congratulate him from London after he arrived for the G20 summit. They spoke for half an hour. The White House spokesman said they talked about Iran and the Israel-Arab peace process. The prime minister’s spokesman said the conversation was friendly and warm and ended in agreement to meet soon.
According to our Jerusalem and Washington sources, Netanyahu plans to fly to Washington at the end of April. In early May, he will be in Moscow for meetings with the Russian prime minister and possibly President Dmitry Medvedev, which are being arranged by the new foreign minister, the Russian-speaking Avigdor Lieberman.

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