Biden Calls Netanyahu for First Time Since Being Sworn in as U.S. President

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Netanyahu speaking with Biden on Wednesday evening
Netanyahu speaking with Biden on Wednesday eveningCredit: Courtesy of PM of Israel's Twitter page

U.S. President Joe Biden spoke to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the phone for the first time since being sworn into office on January 20.

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The conversation was friendly and very warm, and lasted one hour, a statement from the Israeli prime minister's office said.

The two leaders said they would act together to strengthen their country's alliance, Netanyahu's office said.

Biden and Netanyahu discussed the continuation of the Middle East peace process, the Iranian threat, and regional security challenges, and agreed to maintain open dialogue on these topics.

A later White House summary confirmed this had been the substance of the call, although there were also some subtle differences between the two accounts.

The Israeli statement said that Biden had praised Netanyahu's leadership in fighting the coronavirus, and that the two exchanged opinions on how to best handle the pandemic. This did not figure in the official U.S. statement.

Biden had "affirmed his personal history of commitment to Israel's security" during the call, the White House said, while the Israeli statement earlier said the two leaders had noted their longstanding personal connection.

The call comes four weeks after Biden's inauguration, following weeks of whispers that the Biden administration was attempting to send a message to the Israeli government.

The White House summary also emphasized that the U.S. president had made a point of mentioning the importance of working towards peace "throughout the region, including between Israelis and Palestinians."

When asked by the White House press pool about the phone call, Biden said "good conversation" without further elaborating.

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