Lapid and Blinken
Lapid and BlinkenEdits palens

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid delivered a special statement following his meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Latvia:

Lapid said: "This evening, I met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Department of State staff to discuss the situation in Ukraine and the continuation of joint efforts to stop a brutal and unnecessary war.

"The world order is changing before our eyes. We are in a historic moment. In which direction will humanity go: violence, war, and a return to inter-bloc struggle, or peace, prosperity, and the ability to work together for common goals?

"Israel is assisting in the mediation effort together with Germany and France, but we continue to condemn the Russian invasion. There is no justification for violating Ukrainian sovereignty and killing innocent civilians.

"Under the leadership of Prime Minister Bennett, Israel is maintaining continuous contact with Russia and President Putin as well as with Ukraine and President Zelenskyy. We have one goal: to stop the war and prevent more suffering and victims."

Secretary Blinken told Lapid that the Biden Administration greatly appreciates Israel's efforts to mediate an end to the war.

Lapid continued: "Israel has been actively assisting Ukraine since almost the first day of fighting. Nearly 100 tons of Israeli aid has already been sent to Ukraine, and an Israeli field hospital will be established in the coming week in Ukrainian territory.

"At the same time, we have vital security interests vis-a-vis Russia on our northern border, and we are committed to the safety and security of hundreds of thousands of Jews and Israelis in Russia and Ukraine.

"Our mediation efforts are being done in full coordination with the United States. The United States is our greatest and closest ally. We share with them values and a strategic vision regarding the required steps.

"We call for the opening of safe humanitarian corridors from the cities that are under fire. We call for an immediate ceasefire that will allow for negotiations that will restore peace and quiet to Ukraine.

"Israel will participate in the international effort to assist refugees from Ukraine, and will also absorb non-Jewish refugees as a humanitarian gesture. But our main effort is bringing tens and possibly hundreds of thousands of Jews to Israel.

"At the same time, Israel is continuing its effort to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear threshold state. The nuclear agreement which stands to be signed in Vienna is a bad and ineffective agreement. Israel isn’t obliged by it, and reserves the freedom to act in any way against the Iranian nuclear program.

"This war is a reminder to the State of Israel: we have friends, and we have allies, but our security always needs to be only in our hands. What keeps us alive in a dangerous world, is the fact we have an army. A strong and smart army. An army which will protect the State of Israel," Lapid concluded.