Blinken puts more focus on Palestinians in call to Israeli counterpart

April 2, 2021 6:09 PM EDT

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken addresses the media following the closed-door morning talks between the United States and China upon conclusion of their two-day meetings in Anchorage, Alaska March 19, 2021. Frederic J. Brown/Pool via RE


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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told his Israeli counterpart on Friday that Israelis and Palestinians should enjoy "equal measures" of freedom, security, prosperity and democracy.

Blinken's comments reflected more of a focus on the Palestinians than the pro-Israel policy conducted by U.S. President Joe Biden's Republican predecessor, Donald Trump.

Blinken made the point in a phone conversation with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.

A statement from State Department spokesman Ned Price said the two leaders discussed regional security challenges, humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, and the normalization of relations with Arab and Muslim majority countries.

Trump last year helped seal normalization deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. Biden has yet to focus heavily on adding more countries to the list. Some Arab countries want to see the long-standing dispute between Israel and the Palestinians resolved before agreeing to a deal.

"The secretary emphasized the administration’s belief that Israelis and Palestinians should enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity, and democracy," Price said.

He said Blinken reiterated the United States’ "strong commitment to Israel and its security and looks forward to strengthening all aspects of the U.S.-Israel partnership."

(Reporting By Steve Holland and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Chris Reese)



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