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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  And it looks like we have a full house.  Good afternoon, everyone.  Hope you’re enjoying the balcony.  It’s a particular pleasure to welcome my friend Yair Lapid here to Washington and to the State Department, I think your first official visit as foreign minister —

FOREIGN MINISTER LAPID:  As foreign minister, yes.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  — but we’ve had – oh, excuse me – we’ve had much opportunity to see each other, to talk in recent months, and we had a, I think, very significant and important morning this morning marking the anniversary of the Abraham Accords and the very important work that’s been done with Israel and the UAE on normalization. 

And now we have an opportunity to talk about a number of important issues, both in the bilateral relationship between the United States and Israel, an opportunity as always to affirm, reaffirm the ironclad commitment of the United States to Israel’s security, work that we are doing together throughout the region, and indeed, beyond the region.  So we’ll have an opportunity to discuss a series of those issues and challenges, as well as, of course, work that we’re doing together on a bilateral basis, everything from the economy to climate to COVID.  There’s a long agenda.

But as we talked – as we discussed this morning, we also have an opportunity to focus on some of the regional security challenges that we face together, including the challenge posed by Iran and its nuclear program, and other activities that are of concern to both of our countries as well as to many other countries in the region and around the world.  And we’ll have an opportunity as well to talk about the importance of the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians and the United States to finding a two-state solution going forward.

But with that, Yair, welcome.  Great to have you here.

FOREIGN MINISTER LAPID:  Thank you.  Thank you, Mr. Secretary, and thank you for the hospitality here in the U.S.  And again, thank you for this superb trilateral meeting we just had.  It was a powerful moment and a strong message not only about Israel’s relationship with the United States but with the region in general. 

We have a lot to discuss, as you said: Iran, the normalization, there’s the Abraham Accords, all the regional challenges.  And even before that, just to – maybe it’s important that we have a moment to pause and look at the powerful relations our two countries have based on – not only on mutual interest, but on mutual – on a number of shared values, and based on the way we see the future and the world and the way we think the world should look in the future.

So – and the (inaudible) personal relations we have and the people around us have.  So thank you for this meeting, and let’s go to work.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Sounds good.  Thank you all.

U.S. Department of State

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