Jan 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy
Sullivan speaks with Israel's national security adviser for the first time
U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke on the phone Saturday with his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben Shabbat, Israeli officials tell Axios.
Why it matters: This is the first contact between the Biden White House and Israeli prime minister's office. During the transition, the Biden team refrained from speaking to foreign governments.
Driving the news: Israeli officials said the call was meant mainly as an introduction and to kick off the dialogue.
- One of the issues discussed was Iran.
- The two national security advisers also covered the Abraham Accords — the biblical branding the administration has given to the individual normalization agreements between Israel and Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
- In recent days, Sullivan made calls to his counterparts in the U.K., France, Germany, Japan and South Korea.
- The White House did not comment on the call with the Israeli national security adviser.
The big picture: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is concerned about President Biden's stated goal of trying to resume the nuclear deal with Iran. Such a move could result in tensions between the Biden administration and the Israeli government.
- Secretary of State designate Tony Blinken said at his confirmation hearing this week that "there is a long way" until the Iran deal could be resumed.
- He stressed that the U.S. will consult with Israel and the Gulf states before making any decisions