Jan 9, 2023 - World

Scoop: Israel's Dermer in D.C. for first visit by minister of new government

Ron Dermer on Nov. 6, 2021. Photo: Bridget Bennett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Ron Dermer on Nov. 6, 2021. Photo: Bridget Bennett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Ron Dermer, the Israeli minister for strategic affairs, arrived in Washington on Monday for talks with senior White House and State Department officials, two Israeli officials told Axios.

Why it matters: It will be the first visit by an Israeli minister to Washington since the new Israeli government was sworn in. Dermer is one of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s closest confidants and is expected to be his point person for talks with the Biden administration.

Driving the news: Israeli officials said Dermer’s visit is expected to focus on initial coordination between the Biden administration and the new Israeli government on a range of issues, including Iran, the relationship with the Palestinians, and the normalization processes with Arab countries.

  • Dermer’s visit to Washington takes place a week before White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan is expected to travel to Israel for meetings with Netanyahu and other senior Israeli officials.
  • The White House declined to comment and the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office didn’t immediately comment.
  • The State Department said it did not have any meetings to preview or provide a readout for.

What they're saying: In an interview with NPR last Friday, Sullivan said he will use his visit to the region to make clear that the Biden administration is committed to Israel’s security. He said he will also speak to Netanyahu to discuss Iran and normalization with Arab countries.

  • "We continue to support the two-state solution, and we will oppose policies and practices that undermine the viability of the two-state solution or that cut hard against the historic status quo in Jerusalem. And I will be clear and direct on those points," Sullivan said.

Go deeper: New Israeli foreign minister faces criticism after remarks on Russia, Lavrov call

Editor's note: This story has been updated with responses from the White House and State Department.

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