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Obama's visit to Israel with no preconditions: U.S. ambassador


09:13, February 07, 2013

JERUSALEM, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. ambassador to Israel said Wednesday that U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Israel next month will be made without any preconditions.

White House officials confirmed Tuesday that Obama will visit Israel in his first trip abroad during his second term. Obama did not make an official visit to Israel during his first term as president. Israeli officials are yet to confirm the report.

In interviews to local news outlets, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro reiterated that Obama's visit will not necessitate any prior conditions.

"The president's visit will strengthen the ties between Israel and the U.S.," Shapiro told Israel Radio Wednesday morning. "The United States has a special bond with Israel," he added.

According to Shapiro, the purpose of the visit is to coordinate Israeli and U.S. positions on several key issues, including the situation in Syria, the Iranian nuclear issue and the stalled peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

"Obama is coming so soon after the U.S. and Israeli elections because it's best to start working on those topics as soon as possible," Shapiro told the radio.

Obama's visit, the first since his visit as a presidential candidate in 2008, will also include stops in other countries of the region, including Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

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