U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will arrive in Israel next Monday to meet with Israeli leaders, U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement on Thursday.
He will be the second senior U.S. official to visit Israel since the new government was sworn in on December 29. U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog last week.
Blinken is first expected to visit Cairo, where he will meet with President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi and other officials to "advance the U.S.-Egypt strategic partnership and promote peace and security in the region," the statement said.
He will then travel to Israel and the West Bank. In Israel, he will meet with Netanyahu and other senior officials to discuss "U.S. support for Israel's security," particularly against Iran, as well as Israel's "deepening integration into the region," and the importance of a two-state solution, Price said.
In the West Bank, Price said Blinken will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and other officials. He will also emphasize to Ramallah the "importance of a two-state solution," and discuss "political reforms" and "further strengthening the U.S. relationship with the Palestinian people and leadership."
With both Israeli and Palestinian leaders, the secretary of state will emphasize the "urgent need" to "deescalate tensions in order to put an end to the cycle of violence," and the importance of maintaining the status quo at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the statement read.
In his meeting with Netanyahu to prepare for Blinken's arrival, Sullivan brought up the new government's plans to change the judiciary. They and other senior officials discussed Iran's nuclear program, contacts with the Palestinians and the next moves to expand the Abraham Accords.
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The visit, which maintained a low media profile, was intended to refresh relations with the new government against the background of the extreme positions of its senior officials.