Blinken stresses to Israeli counterpart need to ‘deescalate tensions’ in region

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen (right) and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken hold a press conference at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, January 30, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Foreign Minister Eli Cohen (right) and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken hold a press conference at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, January 30, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Alongside Foreign Minister Eli Cohen at the Foreign Ministry, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken hits many of the same notes he did in his statement with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying the US-Israel relationship is “grounded in a long history of shared democratic values.”

He also speaks about reducing the ongoing “cycle of violence,” saying that it is “incumbent on all parties to deescalate tensions.”

Blinken also pledges to work together to confront Iran.

“Iran is not only a threat to Israel and the region,” says Blinken, “but increasingly to the world.”

The US secretary of state also speaks about Israel’s position on the Russia-Ukraine war.

“We appreciate Israel’s humanitarian assistance,” says Blinken, adding that “we look forward to discussing what more can we do.”

Blinken also reiterates America’s “deep condolences” in the wake of Friday’s terrorist attack. “We stand in solidarity with all the people of Israel as they confront terrorism. We will do so together.”

Cohen thanks Blinken for America’s condemnation, and notes the strong reaction against the attack from the Arab world.

“The international community must act quickly and effectively” against Iran’s nuclear program, he says.

Cohen highlights Israel’s aid to Ukraine, noting that the US embassy in Kyiv will return to full activity soon. Cohen also confirms the Times of Israel report that he would visit Kyiv “in the near future.”

Cohen also vows to “take all necessary measures, including legislation” to fulfill the requirements for Israel to join the US Visa Waiver Program.

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