Netanyahu Calls Off Visit to NATO Summit After U.K. Cites ‘Logistical Problems’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won’t attend the NATO summit that will be held in London starting Tuesday, despite plans to meet with U.S. State Secretary Miko Pompeo.

– Haaretz Weekly Episode 51

Haaretz Weekly Episode 51Haaretz

The two-day summit comes at a critical moment for the 29-member military alliance, which has been fraying in the face of U.S. President Donald Trump’s complaints that too many NATO members are spending too little on defense.

The White House said Trump is expected to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron on the summit's sidelines. Trump, however, has no meeting scheduled, as of now, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the summit host.

Officials involved in the planning of Netanyahu’s visit told Haaretz it was canceled over “logistical problems,” adding that many heads of states are set to attend the summit, and Netanyahu’s team gave organizers only a short notice.

Other officials said German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron hadn’t responded to diplomatic attempts to arrange meetings with Netanyahu on the summit’s sidelines.

Netanyahu now hopes to arrange a meeting with Pompeo in Lisbon later this week.

This is the second time in recent months that Netanyahu plans snap visits to the United Kingdom to meet with American officials, requiring preparations by British security agencies, also facing a rising threat of terrorism. In September he did so to meet with Defense Secretary Mark Esper. At the same time, he tried to squeeze in a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was himself in the midst of a political crisis and only managed to give him half an hour of his time.