White House says no 'specific date' yet for Biden-Netanyahu call

Joe Biden (L, pictured in 2016 while US vice president) has not yet set a time or date to talk with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Joe Biden (L, pictured in 2016 while US vice president) has not yet set a time or date to talk with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu DEBBIE HILL POOL/AFP/File
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Washington (AFP)

President Joe Biden will talk "soon" with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but has no "specific" plan to do so yet, the White House said Thursday, underlining an apparent distancing in the key relationship.

Three weeks into his presidency, Biden has pointedly reached out to a raft of traditional US allies but kept some leaders who were particularly cozy with his predecessor Donald Trump at arm's length.

"The president looks forward to speaking with Prime Minister Netanyahu," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

"He'll be talking with him soon. I don't have a specific date or time for you on that call," she said.

She noted the "important relationship" and called Israel "a key partner."

On Wednesday, Biden finally spoke with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, highlighting the many disagreements between the world's two biggest economic powers -- and growing rivals.

Biden did, however, make up for Xi's long wait, talking for "two straight hours," he told reporters Thursday.

Two of Trump's favorite foreign leaders, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, are still waiting for Biden to call.