Biden's Visit Will Have 'Significant Impact' on Middle East, Lapid Tells Blinken

Biden's upcoming visit to Israel and Saudi Arabia 'will have significant implications for the region and the struggle against Iran,' Lapid tells Blinken in a phone call

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) meets with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in Riga, Latvia in March.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) meets with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in Riga, Latvia in March.Credit: OLIVIER DOULIERY / AFP

U.S. President Joe Biden's upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel will have a powerful impact on the region, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid told U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken by phone on Tuesday.

"The visit will have significant implications for the region and the struggle against Iran and tremendous potential to significantly upgrade regional stability and security," Lapid told Blinken, according to a statement from the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Lapid also briefed Blinken on his upcoming flight to Turkey and on joint counterterrorism activities with the Turkish government.

According to a statement released by State Department Spokesperson Ned Price, Blinken spoke with Israeli Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid regarding the dissolution of the Knesset. "Secretary Blinken underscored our respect for democratic processes and reiterated our unwavering commitment to the strong U.S.-Israel strategic relationship," Price added. He further mentioned Blinken's emphasis of close coordination on global and regional issues during their conversation.

Later on Tuesday, Blinken said he spoke with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett "regarding the dissolution of the Knesset, underscoring our respect for democratic processes, our unwavering commitment to the strong U.S.-Israeli strategic relationship, and our mutual concerns about Iran’s malign influence in the region."

Biden is scheduled to visit Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Saudi Arabia between July 13 and 16 in what will be his first visit to Israel as president.

Lapid is expected to be serving as Israeli prime minister by the time Biden's trip begins. Practically speaking, he will be prime minister for at least four to six months, until a new government is sworn in.

With respect to the Israeli election, a U.S. embassy spokesperson in Israel said, “Israel is a strategic partner and fellow democracy. We respect its democratic processes. Beyond that, we’d refer you to Israel for further comment.”

From the standpoint of the U.S. administration, Israel is just a stop on a Middle East trip that is designed to further reconciliation between the United States and Saudi Arabia following the killing in 2018 of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

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