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June 21, 2022 3:39 pm
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Biden Visit Will Have ‘Significant Implications’ for Region, Iran Front, Lapid Tells Blinken

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid gives a press briefing at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, April 24, 2022. Debbie Hill/Pool

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Tuesday spoke to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss President Joe Biden’s planned visit to the country next month, just a day after the government announced its decision to dissolve parliament to trigger new elections.

“The visit is an opportunity to emphasize the President’s deep personal connection to Israel, to America’s commitment to Israel’s security, and to strengthening Israel in the region,” Lapid tweeted after the phone call. “The visit will have significant implications for the region and the fight against Iran, as well as immense potential to significantly improve regional stability and security.”

The call between the two lawmakers comes as Lapid is next week set to assume his role as caretaker prime minister during the transition period before the country’s fifth general election in less than four years, following Monday’s decision to dissolve Israel’s parliament.

Lapid is set to host Biden as prime minister during his visit to Israel on July 13. During a four-day visit to the Middle East, Biden is also scheduled to travel to the West Bank and meet with Palestinian Authority officials before embarking on a visit to Saudi Arabia.

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Lapid also said he discussed with Blinken his upcoming diplomatic visit to Turkey, updating him on joint activity with the Turkish government against terrorism and attempted attacks on Israelis in Istanbul. Lapid plans to visit Turkey on Thursday to meet with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

Israel last week raised the travel warning for Istanbul to Level 4, the highest level, and urged Israelis to return home immediately amid multiple warnings in recent weeks about Iranian attempts to attack Israelis in the Turkish capital. Turkish security forces have worked with Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency to secure places where Israeli tourists are residing, and are conducting a manhunt for Iranian terrorist cells.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement that in the call to Lapid, Blinken “underscored our respect for democratic processes and reiterated our unwavering commitment to the strong US-Israel strategic relationship.”

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