WASHINGTON - U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Thursday, their second conversation since the new Israeli government assumed power.
According to the State Department, Blinken and Lapid discussed opportunities and challenges for Israel and the region, and the secretary noted U.S. commitment to Israel's security, the importance of the bilateral relationship and the need to improve Israeli-Palestinian relations in practical ways. They also traded opinions on opportunities to deepen normalization efforts, as well as on security issues including Iran.
The conversation comes days after Lapid said they both believe that the two governments need to build a relationship based on mutual respect and better dialogue. The Biden administration has made a concerted effort to engage with the new Israeli government, with U.S. President Joe Biden and Blinken reaching out to their respective counterparts mere hours after they successfully took office.
The administration has telegraphed that Lapid will be their point of contact in the new government – particularly after Blinken managed to add Lapid to his schedule during his recent visit to the Middle East, but not Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. The State Department noted after Blinken and Lapid's first conversation that the secretary looks forward to welcoming the foreign minister to Washington "soon."
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The conversation, meanwhile, comes days before Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi is to visit Washington to meet with senior U.S. military and defense officials in his first visit to the U.S. since assuming his position in 2019.