Blinken, Sullivan welcome Israeli defense minister to Washington

Washington, Jun 3 (EFE).- US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and White House National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, met on Thursday in Washington with Israel’s defense minister, Benjamin Gantz, with who the discussed the “enduring” bilateral alliance nd the reconstruction work under way in the Gaza Strip after the recent escalation of violence there.

Blinken welcomed Gantz to the State Department just a week after visiting Israel himself.

At the start of the meeting, the chief US diplomat said before reporters that he and Gantz would continue the conversation regarding “the United States’ enduring commitment to Israel security … some of the needs that Israel has in that regard; also to talk about the work that needs to be done to move forward on humanitarian assistance to, and reconstruction for, Gaza and for the Palestinians living there.”

In a statement after his meeting with Gantz, Sullivan said that both countries share a “common interest” to ensure peace and stability not only for Israelis and Palestinians but throughout the region.

Both officials, Sullivan added, expressed their concerns about the threat posed by Iran’s aggressive behavior in the region and their determination to confront it.

Meanwhile, Gantz thanked Washington for its continued support, which he called “very important,” noting that he was “looking forward to discuss, as we have discussed before, the challenges that we have with Iran, with the Palestinians.”

“As far as Gaza concerned,” Gantz said, “we do look for stability and prosperity for everybody. And as defense minister, I think the combination between moving forward with construction and making sure that everything stays secure – it’s very important for me.”

The Israeli minister’s visit comes after the recent conflict between the Israeli army and Palestinian militants in Gaza, with mutual bombardments over the course of two weeks that left 253 people dead in the Arab enclave and 13 dead in the Jewish state.

It also coincieds with the agreement among Israeli opposition parties reached on Wednesday to form a coalition government without the participation of current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who, if the new government is ratified in the Israeli Knesset, would be forced to step down after 12 consecutive years in power.

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