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FOREIGN MINISTER LAPID:  Okay, I’ll go first.  So I came here to meet with a friend and a partner in a moment in which world order is changing.  The war that is going on in the Ukraine – in Ukraine and the nuclear talks in Vienna are events that are changing the world as we know it.

And I want to thank the administration to you, my friend, for the leadership you have demonstrated in these days.  There is no real alternative to American leadership determined to prevent wars and bloodshed.

Israel is totally committed to do 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 verify 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 with our European partners.  And we will also discuss the status of the nuclear talks in Vienna.  It’s no secret we have our differences on this, but it’s a conversation between allies that have a common goal, which is preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear threshold country, and to stop Iran’s ability to spread terror and instability around the world.  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, thank you, Yair.  It’s great to see you anywhere – in Israel, in the United States, anywhere in between – and we’ve met on a few occasions in different places.  And very much appreciate all of your engagement in the effort to stop this Russian aggression in Ukraine, a war that has already done tremendous damage to Ukraine, to its people, that continues as we speak with more than a million and a half people having fled the country because of the Russian war of choice, and so many more who are in danger at this moment.  People killed, people injured.

So it’s imperative that this war come to an end, and Russia has to end it because it started it with no provocation, unwarranted, and – but also premeditated.  So we very much appreciate the efforts that any of our close partners and friends and allies can make to see if there is any opening to end the war, consistent, of course, with the principles that we’ve all established, starting with the Ukrainian Government and the Ukrainian people, who must have their sovereignty, their independence, and their territorial integrity.

So I look forward to hearing your ideas, hearing about some of the engagements that Israel has had, but we appreciate all efforts by friends and allies to look for a diplomatic resolution.  That’s clearly – that’s always been preferable, from the start.  Unfortunately, Russia chose not to pursue the path of diplomacy.  It chose aggression, and now we have to all contend with that.

And I also look forward to speaking to you about, in the time we have, some of the other issues and challenges that we’re facing together.  And we’re united and committed to the proposition that Iran must never obtain a nuclear weapon, and I look forward to bringing you up to date on the latest on where we are on the talks with the Europeans, the Iranians, Russia, and China on the JCPOA.

So it’s great to see you, and thank you.

U.S. Department of State

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