President Joe Biden and Israel’s prime minister, Yair Lapid, discussed Iran’s rapidly progressing nuclear program and the Israeli leader vowed that Tehran would not become a nuclear power.
Their one-on-one talks Thursday were the centerpiece of a 48-hour visit by the U.S. president aimed at strengthening already tight relations between the U.S. and Israel. The leaders also signed a joint declaration emphasizing military cooperation and a joint commitment to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
Biden said he spoke to Lapid about the importance of Israel becoming “totally integrated” in the region.
"I talked about how important it was from my perspective for Israel to be totally integrated in the region,” Biden said.
Under the Trump administration, Israel struck diplomatic deals with four Arab countries known as the Abraham Accords.
Biden is hoping to build on those fledgling ties as he heads to Saudi Arabia to meet with Gulf Arab partners this weekend. The ties are largely based on shared concerns about Iran’s nuclear program and military activities across the region.
Lapid described Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia as “extremely important to Israel.”
Biden also appeared to give a boost to Lapid, who hopes to win a full term in November elections. “We had a good beginning of a long, God willing, relationship,” Biden said.