Netanyahu says he expects to speak to Biden soon

Prime Minister notes US President hasn't yet spoken to Middle East leaders, says he expects to speak with him soon.

Elad Benari ,

Biden and Netanyahu
Biden and Netanyahu
Amos Ben Gershom/GPO

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Monday that he expects to speak with US President Joe Biden soon "as he [Biden] sees fit."

Biden is “making calls to world leaders according to the order he sees fit. He has not reached the Middle East yet," Netanyahu said in response to a question on the matter during a press conference with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

"The Israel-US alliance is strong and so is our friendship of almost 40 years, though we may not agree on everything," he added, noting, "I spoke with President Biden right after his victory."

While there has been contact between US and Israeli officials since Biden took office on January 20, the President has not yet spoken to Netanyahu or to leaders of other countries in the Middle East.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki last week downplayed the fact that Biden has not yet called Netanyahu since taking office.

Asked during her press briefing whether the fact that Biden has not yet called Netanyahu is surprising, she replied, “I don't know that it's surprising less than two weeks into an administration. He hasn't called every foreign leader yet.”

Psaki continued, “He certainly would love to spend more time talking to foreign leaders. His first love is foreign policy. But I expect he'll continue to have additional engagements in the weeks ahead. And, obviously, we have a long and abiding relationship with Israel, important security relationship. I'm sure they'll discuss that and a range of issues when they do connect.”

When Netanyahu and Biden do speak, it is more than likely that the issue of Iran’s nuclear program will come up.

While Trump withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement nearly three years ago and proceeded to reimpose crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic, Biden has expressed a desire to return to the deal.

Netanyahu is opposed to the original agreement, but Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Gilad Erdan, recently said he does not anticipate a crisis with the new Biden administration over the differences of opinion on the Iran deal.