Mitt Romney to Travel to Israel in First Foreign Trip of Candidacy
Mitt Romney will head to Israel this summer, his first foreign trip since becoming the presumptive Republican presidential nominee earlier this year.
The trip is likely to take place after Romney attends the opening ceremonies at the London Olympics on July 27. Romney is also reportedly scheduled to attend a fundraiser in London that same week hosted by Bob Diamond, the CEO of Barclay's.
The trip was first reported by the New York Times and later confirmed by ABC News.
Romney himself has hinted that he would take a trip to Israel, in November noting that a trip there would be first on the list if he's elected.
"And the right course for Israel is to show that we care about Israel, that they are our friend, we'll stick with them. If I'm president of the United States, my first trip - my first foreign trip will be to Israel to show the world we care about that country and that region," Romney said during a GOP debate held in Washington, D.C.
For Romney, who has been a longtime friend of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this trip will mark his fourth to the Middle Eastern country.
Earlier this month in a satellite address to the Faith and Freedom Conference, Romney was asked what he would do to strengthen the relationship between the United States and Israel.
"Well, I think by and large you can just look at the things the president's done and do the opposite," Romney said. "I mean, you know, you consider his first address to the United Nations, he castigated Israel for building settlements. You look at his policies with regards to Iran, he's almost sounded like he's more frightened that Israel might take military action than he's concerned that Iran might become nuclear."
"And then of course, an insistence that Israel return to the '67 borders, indefensible borders, all these things I think surprised our friends in the Middle East. He's been disrespectful of Prime Minister Netanyahu. My view is I would of course forge a strong working relationship with the leadership in Israel. I would make it very clear that for us as well as for them it is unacceptable for Iran to become a nuclear nation. And that we're prepared to take any and all action necessary to keep that from happening," he said.
Romney has not delivered a major foreign policy speech since October, when he addressed the Citadel in Charleston, S.C. During that address, Romney vowed to "begin discussions with Israel to increase the level of our military assistance and coordination."
President Obama, who has not visited Israel during his administration, did travel there during his 2008 campaign.
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