Secretary Antony J. Blinken and Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi Before Their Meeting

MAY 25, 2021

FOREIGN MINISTER ASHKENAZI:  Very briefly.  It’s an honor and pleasure to have my friend the Secretary of State for his first official visit in Israel and welcoming him on behalf of the government and the people of Israel.  The United States is our closest ally.  I’m committed, as I’m sure the Secretary, for expanding the relationship.  It’s an excellent opportunity to thank their President of the United States and the Secretary of State and his team for their unwavering support of the State of Israel.  It was no surprise to me from the day one that we discussed.  Thank you for the dedicated move and the close relation and involvement during the last event.  I wish you a fruitful visit in Israel.  Thank you very much.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you very, very much.  It’s wonderful to be here.  It’s particularly wonderful to get a chance to spend some time with Gabi, with the foreign minister.  We know each other very well because we’ve spent a lot of time on the phone together over these past months now, and certainly over the last few weeks.  But I’m particularly pleased to be here and get a chance to spend some time in person.

I think Gabi said it very, very well.  I’m here, as I said earlier, to reaffirm the strong commitment of United States to Israel’s security, to the partnership between us, to move forward now on dealing with the humanitarian situation in Gaza and also starting to rebuild, to re-engage with the Palestinian community and Palestinian Authority.  And I hope to start to move things in a positive direction where we can make material progress in the lives of Israelis and Palestinians alike.  We have a lot of work to do, but we’re grateful to have close parties.

FOREIGN MINISTER ASHKENAZI:  The Secretary has an impossible schedule, so thank you, we have to move.  Thank you very much.