Lapid and Blinken to Meet in Rome Sunday Over Iran Nuclear Deal Negotiations

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Yair Lapid speaking before the Yesh Atid caucus at the Knesset this past month.
Yair Lapid speaking before the Yesh Atid caucus at the Knesset this past month.Credit: Emil Salman
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is expected to meet Sunday with U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in Rome, marking Lapid's first international tour as Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.

Lapid and Blinken already spoke by phone over a week ago, during which they agreed to proceed with a shared policy of “no surprises" in relations between the two countries.

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Lapid previously met Blinken at his hotel in Jerusalem a few weeks ago, when he was still leader of the opposition, during Blinken's Mideast visit following Israel's 11-day conflict with Gaza. Blinken is currently in Europe for a series of political meetings on various issues.

The two are expected to advance working relations between the Bennett-Lapid government and the Biden administration, including discussing U.S. efforts to reach a new nuclear deal with Iran, the security and political situation in the region, and promoting normalization with Hamas.

Anthony Blinken in Paris on Saturday.Credit: Gonzalo Fuentes / Reuters

While in Rome, Lapid will also meet with the Bahraini foreign minister, Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani, and Italy's foreign minister, Luigi di Maio. Lapid will fly back to Israel immediately following the meetings.

Later this week, Lapid is expected to pay a historic visit to the United Arab Emirates, where he will inaugurate the Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi, the Consulate General in Dubai, and meet with the UAE foreign minister.

Lapid will be the most senior Israeli minister to pay an official visit to the Emirates since the Abraham Accords were signed last September.

Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prevented outgoing government ministers from making official visits to the Gulf States and tried to arrange an official trip for himself close to election time. The initiative was eventually shelved due to the pandemic and due to his wife Sarah’s hospitalization at the time.

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