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January 3, 2023 9:49 am

US National Security Advisor Planning Trip to Israel

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White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan takes questions during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 7, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis – US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan will travel to Israel in mid-January, in what will be the first visit by a high-ranking Biden administration official since the inauguration last Thursday of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

According to reports, key topics for discussion will include Iran’s nuclear program and ongoing Palestinian terrorism emanating from Judea and Samaria.

Sullivan is expected to meet with Netanyahu, Israeli counterpart Tzachi Hanegbi and Strategic Affairs Minister and former Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, according to Israeli media reports.

In a conversation with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen on Monday, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken congratulated him on his new position and reaffirmed America’s commitment to Israel’s security and the US-Israel partnership.

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“Blinken discussed continued US efforts to advance mutual interests such as Israel’s further regional integration, including through the Negev Forum; address shared challenges, including the threat from Iran; and promote the values that have been at the heart of the bilateral relationship for decades,” said Blinken’s spokesperson in a statement.

Blinken also “emphasized the continued US commitment to a two-state solution and opposition to policies that endanger its viability,” the statement said.

In December, Blinken was the keynote speaker at J Street’s annual conference in Washington, DC, where he vowed to “gauge the [Israeli] government by its policies and procedures, rather than individual personalities.”

US President Joe Biden last Thursday welcomed the swearing-in of Netanyahu’s new government, saying he looked forward to working with the prime minister, “who has been my friend for decades, to jointly address the many challenges and opportunities facing Israel and the Middle East region, including threats from Iran.”

“The United States is working to promote a region that’s increasingly integrated, prosperous and secure, with benefits for all of its people. From the start of my administration, we have worked with partners to promote this more hopeful vision of a region at peace, including between Israelis and Palestinians,” a statement on behalf of Biden continued, adding that Washington would “continue to support the two-state solution and to oppose policies that endanger its viability or contradict our mutual interests and values.”

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