Obama Says U.S.-Israel Ties Will Endure Past Rift With Netanyahu

U.S. President Barack Obama, left, speaks during a meeting with U.S. Vice President Joseph "Joe" Biden, right, and Ashton Carter, U.S. secretary of defense, not pictured, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

President Barack Obama said Monday the rift with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over negotiations with Iran is only a temporary distraction and won’t cause permanent damage to the U.S.-Israel relationship.

While there is “substantial disagreement” between his administration and Netanyahu’s government over how to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon, their differences aren’t “personal,” he said in an interview with Reuters.

Obama said that Iran’s government must accept at least a 10-year freeze on its nuclear program that is verifiable. He said it was more likely than not that Iran would fail to meet the requirements for a final deal with the U.S. and other world powers.

In the Reuters interview, Obama also gave no deadline for making a decision on TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline, saying it definitely will be settled before he leaves office.

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