Netanyahu urges Biden to 'strengthen' US-Israel alliance

AFP , Wednesday 20 Jan 2021

Israel welcomed the moves and encouraged Europe to follow suit

In this Jan. 13, 2021 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits a coronavirus vaccination facility in the northern Arab city of Nazareth, Israel AP

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday urged incoming US President Joe Biden to "strengthen" a long-standing alliance between the two countries, partly to confront the "threat" posed by Iran.

"I look forward to working with you to further strengthen the US-Israel alliance, to continue expanding peace between Israel and the Arab world and to confront common challenges, chief among them the threat posed by Iran," Netanyahu said.

The Israeli leader was speaking in a video congratulating Biden moments after he was sworn in as US president, replacing Donald Trump.

Netanyahu, who has referred to Trump as the "best friend" Israel has had in the White House, noted Wednesday that he had "a warm personal friendship going back many decades" with Biden.

Under Trump, the United States withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and imposed tough new sanctions on the Islamic republic, Israel's arch foe.

Israel welcomed the moves and encouraged Europe to follow suit.

But Biden's nominee for Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said Tuesday the incoming administration was ready to return to the deal as long as Iran respects its commitments.

Israel has also reached a series of normalisation agreements with its Arab neighbours under the Trump administration.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online. 

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