On Saturday night, Prime Minister of Israel Yair Lapid spoke on the phone with King Abdullah II of Jordan. The Prime Minister’ Office (PMO) said that they talked about the upcoming trip of Joe Biden, the US President, this week to the region, along with the need for greater cooperation between their countries.
The statement from the PMO said that Lapid had wished a happy Eid al-Adha to the king and the citizens of Jordan. The Israeli premier also offered his condolences to the king for a deadly gas leak that had happened in Aqaba, the southern city port in Jordan.
Yair Lapid also received wishes of success and was congratulated by the Jordanian king for his premiership. Lapid’s office disclosed that the two had talked about improving relations and cooperation between Jordan and Israel. They had also talked about the upcoming visit of the US president and the regional opportunities and challenges.
The US President is scheduled for a two-day visit to Israel on Wednesday before he will fly to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia where the GCC+3 summit is being held on Saturday. The Gulf Cooperation Council’s leaders will also be in attendance, which include Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Iraq.
Washington Post published an opinion piece from Joe Biden in which he talked about his planned trip. He also said that considering that Israel and Saudi Araba do not have any formal relations, direct flights between the two countries are a ‘small symbol’ of the improving relations between the Arab world and Israel. He added that these were steps that would lead to normalization.
During his visit, the US President will also meet Mansour Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority. According to a senior White House official, a package of steps would be announced by Biden in Bethlehem to help strengthen the PA.
Abbas and Lapid
Lapid and Abbas also had a phone conversation on Friday, which is said to be the first direct call to take place between the PA chief and the prime minister of Israel. This phone call was part of a series of calls that the Israeli premier was making ahead of the holiday of Eid al-Adha to Muslim leaders in order to wish them.
Moreover, the calls also offered Lapid the opportunity to discuss the trip of the US president with other leaders in the region. Lapid’s office said that he and Abbas had talked about cooperation and maintaining calm and quiet.
Speaking in Paris on Tueday, Lapid said that while he would not completely rule out a meeting with the PA chief, they did not have any such immediate plans. Naftali Bennett, the former prime minister, had not spoken to Abbas directly during his time in the office and had ruled out a meeting possibility.
According to Lapid, he would not have any meeting unless there could be something positive for Israel, so it was not on the agenda for now, but it did not mean that it could not happen.