Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday in Riga to discuss Israel’s ongoing mediation efforts between Russia and Ukraine, as well as the imminent revival of the nuclear deal with Iran.
Blinken said that the United States appreciates Israel’s efforts to mediate between the two sides in an attempt to bring an end to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The meeting in Latvia comes after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett flew to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday followed by back-to-back conversations with the Russian leader, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine, as well as a debriefing with European counterparts, such as French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Schultz.
Blinken noted that every potential negotiated solution to the crisis should guarantee Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity.
“We very much appreciate all of your engagements in the effort to stop this Russian aggression in Ukraine. A war that has already done tremendous damage to Ukraine, to its people,” Blinken told Lapid. “It’s imperative that this war has to come to an end, and Russia has to end it because it started it.”
Lapid said in a statement following the meeting that “Israel is totally committed to doing everything possible to stop the war in Ukraine. We have condemned the Russian invasion and we still do, and Israel is a partner in the global effort to make sure and clarify that this war must be stopped.”
“The way to stop a war is to negotiate. Israel is speaking with both sides, both with Russia and Ukraine and we are working in full coordination with our greatest ally the United States and our European partners,” he added. “We have crucial security interests with Russia on our northern border, and we are committed to the safety and security of hundreds of thousands of Jewish and Israeli citizens in both Russia and Ukraine.”
Regarding Iran, the foreign minister stressed that the “war is a reminder to the State of Israel: We have friends, we have allies, but our security should always be in our hands.”
He said that the nuclear deal expected to be signed in Vienna in the coming days is a “bad and ineffective agreement.”
Israel emphasizes that it is not in any way committed to an agreement between world powers and Iran, and that Israel reserves the right to operate against the Iranian nuclear program.
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.