Fri, 08 Dec 2023

New York [US], September 21 (ANI): US President Joe Biden and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday (local time) held a meeting in New York City on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. The two leaders welcomed the announcement made at the G20 Summit to develop the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) and discussed how the project can benefit the entire Middle East region with investment and new forms of collaboration across the two continents.

The two leaders held discussions on a range of bilateral, regional, and global issues of mutual concern, the White House announced through a statement. Biden and Netanyahu welcomed the likely convening of a ministerial meeting in the Negev format to further advance regional integration initiatives and deepen the ongoing US-Israeli tech dialogue.

"The two leaders welcomed the historic announcement made at the G20 to develop the India Middle East Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) through the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel, and discussed how the project can benefit the entire Middle East region with investment and new forms of collaboration across two continents," White House said in its statement.

The meeting of the two leaders comes after India, the US, UAE, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, Italy and the European Union signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor on September 9, on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in New Delhi.

During the meeting, Biden and Netanyahu reiterated their commitment to ensuring that Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon and carrying forward the ongoing close cooperation between Israel and the United States to counter all "threats" posed by Tehran and its proxies. The two leaders spoke about the progress towards establishing a more "integrated, prosperous, and peaceful Middle East region", including through efforts to deepen and expand normalization with countries in the region.

Biden invited Netanyahu to visit Washington, DC before the end of the year to continue the direct collaboration between the two nations on a range of issues, according to the statement by the White House. He also wished Israel's PM and the people of the country a happy new year.

Biden spoke about the "unbreakable bond" between the two nations, which, he noted, is based on shared democratic values, as well as the US' "iron-clad commitment to Israel's security".

"With regard to ongoing tension and violence in the West Bank, the President emphasized the need to take immediate measures to improve the security and economic situation, maintain the viability of a two-state solution, and promote a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

To that end, President Biden called on all parties to fulfil their commitments made during meetings held earlier this year in Aqaba, Jordan and Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, to include refraining from further unilateral measures," read the statement issued by the White House.

Biden and Netanyahu also agreed to consult regional partners with the aim of convening a meeting soon in the Aqaba/Sharm format.

The White House statement read further, "The President also reiterated his concern about any fundamental changes to Israel's democratic system, absent the broadest possible consensus." (ANI)

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