Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has informed the Obama administration that he will not attend President Barack Obama's nuclear security summit in Washington next week, according to a senior U.S. official familiar with the situation.
The move could be a sign of further tension between the United States and Israel and may distract from the Obama administration's attempts to highlight the unprecedented nature of a 46-nation summit aimed at reducing nuclear weapons. But the U.S. official said that Israel is "sending appropriate representation" to the summit. The official said that other countries are also sending representatives who are lower profile than heads of state.
The news comes after Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a major nuclear arms treaty in the Czech Republic earlier Thursday. The new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty - known as START– reduces the number of nuclear weapons held by the United States and Russia by about one-third, among other provisions.
- From CNN Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry