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Blinken calls Netanyahu, affirms support; Russian FM seeks Quartet meeting

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reaffirm America’s support for Israel’s right to defend itself from Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza.

The State Department says he also repeated US calls for a de-escalation of violence and the Biden administration’s belief that both Israelis and Palestinians have the right to live in safety and security.

According to the State Department, Blinken also told Netanyahu that as he and President Joe Biden have said in the past, the administration believes Israelis and Palestinians should “enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity and democracy.”

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov calls for an urgent meeting of the Middle East Quartet in order to halt violence between Israel and the Palestinians.

Speaking alongside United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Lavrov says: “Today we’ve come to the common opinion that the most pressing task is to convene the Quartet of international mediators — Russia, the United States, the UN and the EU.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks to the media in Moscow, Russia, on April 16, 2021. (Yuri Kochetkov/Pool Photo via AP)

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