In Europe, Lapid tells NATO chief Israel wants to deepen ties

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met in Brussels with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday, ahead of a series of bilateral talks with several of his European counterparts.

Lapid expressed his desire to deepen ties with NATO and declared Israel’s readiness to support the alliance on matters of intelligence, cybersecurity, counter-terrorism, climate change, maritime security, missile defense, and civilian emergency management. He also invited Stoltenberg to visit Israel.

After the hour-long talk with Stoltenberg, Lapid was scheduled to hold short conversations with his counterparts from Germany, France, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.

At 1 p.m. (Israel time) Lapid will address the European Union Foreign Affairs Council, the first Israeli minister to do so since Tzipi Livni in 2008.

Lapid is seeking to reboot relations with Europe under the new government in Jerusalem, diplomatic sources have told The Times of Israel.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels, July 12, 2021 (NATO)

On Sunday evening, Lapid met with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry on the sidelines of the Foreign Affairs Council meeting.

During the hour-long talk, the two discussed Israeli-Palestinian relations, with Shoukry stressing the need to launch peace negotiations and break the impasse between the sides.

The new Israeli foreign minister also gave an interview to an official Egyptian media outlet. An interview by a senior Israeli official in an outlet affiliated with the regime has not occurred in recent years, and indicates fresh openness in Cairo to having official Israeli positions presented directly to the Egyptian public.

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