Obama defends decision not to meet Netanyahu during upcoming Washington visit

(REUTERS) - US President Barack Obama on Monday defended his decision not to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel during his upcoming Washington visit as following basic protocol of not meeting with world leaders just weeks before an election.

"We have a practice of not meeting with leaders right before their elections," Mr Obama said at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"Some of this just has to do with how we do business, and I think it's important for us to maintain these protocols because the US-Israeli relationship is not about a particular party," he said.

Mr Obama added that if Ms Merkel had an election coming up shortly, she would not have been invited to White House and probably would not have asked for such a meeting.