Biden Extends Informal Invitation to Netanyahu for Washington Visit by End of 2023

President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu are flanked by their delegations during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 78th U.N. General Assembly, in New York City, Wednesday. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

During a meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, President Joe Biden extended an informal invitation to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to visit Washington. The leaders engaged in discussions covering various critical topics, with a particular focus on the potential normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Biden initiated the meeting by underlining the enduring and robust partnership between the United States and Israel. He expressed his desire to host Netanyahu in Washington “by the end of the year,” with sources indicating that this visit may take place around mid-October.

Biden acknowledged the historic ties between the two nations, including Israel’s Declaration of Independence 75 years ago and the global support for the realization of the Israeli dream. Despite differences in opinions regarding proposed judicial reforms in Israel, Biden reassured Netanyahu of Washington’s steadfast support for Israel.

During their conversation, Biden fondly recalled a previous discussion they had about the potential normalization of relations with Saudi Arabia, humorously mentioning their shared enjoyment of Irish whiskey during that exchange.

Netanyahu echoed the sentiment of their longstanding friendship, spanning over four decades, and highlighted the promise and challenges of the current era. He emphasized the productive discussions held during the G20 meetings, including the possibility of creating a corridor that could transform Israel into a pivotal hub for unprecedented prosperity.

Both leaders shared a vision of forging a close relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia, potentially signaling a historic turning point in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Netanyahu expressed his belief in the potential for an unprecedented agreement with Saudi Arabia under Biden’s leadership.

Another significant topic discussed during the meeting was the creation of a new Middle East-European exon corridor. This ambitious corridor aims to connect India to Europe via Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Israel. Biden emphasized the importance of this initiative and noted that the involved countries are actively collaborating on its realization.

The leaders also addressed critical issues such as the importance of democratic values, the maintenance of checks and balances within their respective systems, and their commitment to a two-state solution. They jointly emphasized their determination to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Netanyahu underscored their collective commitment to advancing peace between Israel and the Palestinians, fostering a brighter future for the region, and addressing threats posed by Iran. He stressed the necessity of credible military deterrence, imposing effective sanctions, and providing support to those opposing the Iranian regime.

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