In cellphone name with Netanyahu, Biden affirms his dedication to Israel’s safety

Washington, February 18

In his maiden phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Joe Biden affirmed his steadfast commitment to Israel’s security and their strategic cooperation to confront the many challenges facing the region, the White House has said.

“A good conversation,” Biden told reporters. His first conversation with Netanyahu on Wednesday lasted for about an hour.

The call comes nearly a month after Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States.

“The President affirmed his personal history of steadfast commitment to Israel’s security and conveyed his intent to strengthen all aspects of the US-Israel partnership, including our strong defence cooperation,” the White House said in a readout of the call.   

Together, the leaders discussed the importance of continued close consultation on regional security issues, including Iran, it said.

During the call, Biden emphasised the US’ support for the recent normalisation of relations between Israel and countries in the Arab and Muslim world.

“He underscored the importance of working to advance peace throughout the region, including between Israelis and Palestinians. Together, they affirmed their shared interest in a continued strategic cooperation to confront the many challenges facing the region,” the White House said.

In a post on Twitter, Netanyahu said he had spoken with Biden for roughly an hour in “friendly and warm” terms, affirming the US-Israel alliance and discussing issues related to Iran, regional diplomacy and the coronavirus pandemic.

The call came four weeks after Biden’s inauguration, a length of time that both supporters and opponents of Netanyahu thought might be a signal that Israel’s Prime Minister no longer held the privileged position at the White House he had enjoyed under former president Donald Trump, CNN said.

The Israeli leader’s close alignment with Trump and the Republican Party, as well as the length of time it took him to congratulate Biden on his victory, had not gone unnoticed, a source told CNN.

In Jerusalem Netanyahu’s office said: “The two leaders noted their personal ties of many years and said they will work together to continue bolstering the strong alliance between Israel and the US.” They discussed continuing to promote peace agreements between Israel and states in the region, the Iranian threat and regional challenges.

The leaders agreed to continue a dialogue between them, The Jerusalem Post quoted the statement as saying.

Biden also congratulated Netanyahu for his leadership in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and they exchanged opinions on the matter, according to the statement.

The Biden administration seeks to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal, which former president Trump left in 2018. Israel is opposed to the deal. PTI

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