JERUSALEM (Fwrd Axis) — President Joe Biden and Israel Prime Minister Yair Lapid will sign a new joint declaration to expand security between their nations and counter Iran’s efforts to destabilize the region, according to senior administration officials.
Previewing Biden’s schedule, one senior official said the new agreement will include “a commitment to never allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon”. This comes after the President told local Israel television station 12 that he is committed to reviving the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal that former President Donald Trump withdraw the US from in 2018.
“I think it was a gigantic mistake for the last president to get out of the deal. They’re closer to a nuclear weapon now than they were before,” Biden said.
EXCLUSIVE @POTUS interview with @N12News: committed to keeping IRGC on the foreign terrorist organizations list even if it kills the deal; willing to use force “as last resort” pic.twitter.com/jWjLO0SVQz
— Yonit Levi (@LeviYonit) July 13, 2022
Biden will meet Thursday with Israel’s leaders over a series of meetings, including Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who the administration has been working with over the past year. He will also meet with caretaker prime minister Yair Lapid and the two leaders will hold a joint press conference following their meeting.
When Biden meets with Lapid, he is expected to discuss Iran’s nuclear capabilities, the need for countries to assist Ukraine, and “preserving the prospect” of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a senior administration official said in a call with reporters.
Shortly after arriving in Israel, Biden gave remarks and said the main goal of the trip is to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to Israel, despite much of the world’s focus being on Russia’s war with Ukraine.
“I’m proud to say that our relationship to the State of Israel is deeper and stronger in my view than it’s ever been,” Biden said Wednesday upon arriving in Israel for his 10th visit to the country, his first as president. “With this visit, we’re strengthening our connections even further. We reaffirm the unshakable commitment to the United States, and Israel security, including partnering with Israel on the most cutting edge defense systems in the world.”
Stephen Michael reported from the United States.