President Joe Biden on Wednesday made the much-awaited call to the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It comes a day that had seen the White House deny that Biden was snubbing the country’s premier. In recent weeks, there had been speculation that the newly-elected Democratic president was signaling displeasure with Netanyahu over his relationship with Trump, who called him two days after assuming the Oval Office.
Since taking office on January 20, Biden has talked to several global leaders. The White House said in a statement that Netanyahu, who differs from the incumbent on Middle Eastern issues, would be the first regional leader that the president would call. Besides, the delay in the courtesy call between the leaders was seen by many analysts as a sign that Biden did not want to be seen boasting Netanyahu’s election business.
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While talking to the reporters, Biden said that it was a good conversation with the Israeli Prime Minister. The two leaders talked for almost an hour on issues, including the threat from Tehran and the normalization of Tel-Aviv’s ties with the Middle Eastern countries. The US president told Netanyahu that he was willing to strengthen security and defense cooperation as well as stressed his support for normalization of relations with its neighbors, the statement said.
Last week, Biden’s aide Jen Psaki stated that the delay in the call with Netanyahu was not intentional and denied that it was meant to disrespect the Israeli leader. The telephone call comes a week after Netanyahu acknowledged differences with Joe Biden over Palestinian and Iranian issues but added that the two nations were determined to work closely.
Experts suggest that both the nations may find their alliance tested if the Biden administration determines to rejoin the historic Iran Nuclear Deal, from which Trump unilaterally withdrew and reimposed economic sanctions. Previously, during the Trump administration, Netanyahu was in lock-step with the former president, who followed a pro-Israel policy.
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