Aug 30, 2019 - World

Netanyahu to Macron: "Not the time" for Trump-Rouhani meeting

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron

Netanyahu greets Macron in Paris in June 2018. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told French President Emmanuel Macron in a phone call Friday that "Iran is expending its aggression in the region and this is not the time" to arrange a summit between President Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, according to a statement by Netanyahu's office.

Why it matters: Netanyahu is very concerned about Macron's initiative. The statement from Netanyahu's office was his first public reaction on the Iran developments at the G7 meeting in France last Sunday. 

The backstory: Yesterday, Axios' Jonathan Swan and I reported on Netanyahu's attempts to reach Trump while he was at the G7 summit. Netanyahu was worried Macron would arrange a meeting between Trump and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and tried to get Trump on the phone to convince him not to take the meeting. 

According to Netanyahu's statement, Macron was the one who initiated today's phone call. Netanyahu and Macron discussed the situation in Lebanon after last Saturday's drone attack against Hezbollah's precision missile production site in Beirut.

  • Netanyahu told Macron that Israel will continue to act to prevent its enemies from arming themselves with weapons to destroy Israel, and that whoever gives cover for aggression against Israel — such as the Lebanese government — will not be off limits.
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