Israel PM ‘extends hand’ to Arab countries ahead of Biden’s visit

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Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Sunday urged Arab countries to form ties with Israel, sending a message to Saudi Arabia ahead of the US President Joe Biden’s visit this week.

Noting Biden’s planned trip to Israel, Palestine and Saudi Arabia, Lapid told his Cabinet ministers that Israel “extends its hand to all the countries of the region”.

He urged Arab countries “to build ties with us, establish relations with us, and change history for our children”.

Lapid, who became Israel’s caretaker Prime Minister on July 1 following the collapse of the coalition government, will host Biden during his trip to Jerusalem on Wednesday and Thursday.

The US President is also expected to travel to the Israeli-occupied West Bank to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Xinhua news agency reported.

Israel hopes to warm up ties with Saudi Arabia, a country with which it currently has no formal ties, and form a regional military alliance against Iran.

Biden said in a statement in June that his trip to the Middle East between Wednesday to Saturday would “deepen Israel’s integration in the region”.

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