US and Israeli diplomats meet in Riga on Ukraine and Iran

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Riga (AFP) – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met on Monday to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the possibility of a new deal with Iran on limiting its nuclear program.

Lapid flew to Riga, Latvia to make contact with Washington’s top diplomat two days after Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett flew to Moscow for a three-hour meeting with President Vladimir Putin, in hope to find a way to end the bloodshed in Ukraine.

“The way to stop war is to negotiate,” Lapid said as the meeting began at a hotel in Riga.

“Israel is talking with both sides, both with Russia and Ukraine, and we are working in full coordination with our biggest ally the United States and with our European partners,” he said.

Blinken thanked Israel for its efforts to help end the war.

On Sunday, Bennett said Israel would continue diplomatic efforts “as needed,” although Russia continued its attack 12 days after its forces invaded Ukraine without provocation.

“Even if the odds aren’t great – as soon as there’s even a small opening, and we have access to all the parts and the capacity – I see it as our moral obligation to do every effort,” he said.

Lapid also said he would discuss with Blinken Israel’s interests in possibly reviving the 2015 nuclear deal aimed at preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

“We are united and committed to the proposition that Iran should never acquire nuclear weapons,” Blinken assured his Israeli counterpart.

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