EU's Varhelyi meets with Netanyahu amid ICC prosecutor's arrest warrant requests

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi met on Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, amid requests by the International Criminal Court's prosecutor for arrest warrants against them over alleged war crimes.

"Honoured to meet Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss pressing issues in our bilateral relations, the war with Hamas, humanitarian assistance for the people in Gaza and strategic challenge for the region from Iran", Varhelyi said on social media platform X.

Asked whether European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had approved the meeting, a spokesperson said commissioners do not require prior approval for such a meeting.

"The president trusts that he is conveying the EU position on all bilateral and regional issues to his interlocutors", the spokesperson added.

Varhelyi's cabinet did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Andrew Gray, Charlotte Van Campenhout; additional reporting by Henriette Chacar from Jaffa; Editing by Leslie Adler)