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Biden speaks with leaders of Israel, India

President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday spoke with the leaders of Israel and India, among other countries, as he shores up support from key global allies before entering office in January.

Biden’s conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi come as President Trump continues to challenge the results of the election. While Trump has refused to concede, both Netanyahu and Modi recognized Biden as president-elect.

In his conversation with Netanyahu, Biden thanked the prime minister for his congratulations and reiterated “steadfast” support for Israel’s security, its future as a Jewish and democratic state and pledged to work closely on many challenges confronting the two countries, according to a readout of the call released by his transition team.

Biden also spoke with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, with whom he shared a similar message. 

Netanyahu wrote on Twitter that he had a “warm conversation” with Biden and the two agreed to meet soon to discuss “many issues” as part of the “steadfast alliance” between the countries.

“In a warm conversation, the President-elect reiterated his deep commitment to the State of Israel and its security,” read a statement on the Israeli prime minister’s Twitter account.

Netanyahu added that the “special bond” between the U.S. and Israel is a “fundamental component of Israel’s security and its policy.”

Modi similarly tweeted that he had spoken to Biden, writing, “We reiterated our firm commitment to the Indo-US strategic partnership and discussed our shared priorities and concerns – Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific Region.”

The foreign leader also hailed Sen. Kamala Harris’s (D-Calif.) election as vice president, calling it “a matter of great pride and inspiration for members of the vibrant Indian-American community, who are a tremendous source of strength for Indo-US relations.” Harris is the daughter of an Indian immigrant and is the first Black American and the first South Asian American to be elected vice president.

Biden on Tuesday also spoke with the leaders of Chile and South Africa, expressing a desire to deepen the relationship with both countries, according to readouts of the calls released by his team.

The calls are the latest in a handful that Biden has had with global leaders since he was projected the winner of the presidential election. Last week, he spoke with the leaders of France, Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan and South Korea. Biden also spoke to Pope Francis.

Biden’s conversation with Netanyahu comes ahead of a visit to Israel this week by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Pompeo has supported Trump’s push to challenge the election results — suggesting in a press briefing last week that there would be a “smooth transition to a second Trump administration” — and has withheld direction to diplomatic posts abroad on how to address Biden’s victory.

Netanyahu has benefited from Trump’s time in office following a slew of changes to U.S. policy, and Pompeo is expected to visit the Golan Heights and an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, a symbol of Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty of the area and that the U.S. would no longer view settlements there as illegal.

The Israeli prime minister was also supportive of Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal, and Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. has said it would be a “mistake” for Biden to reenter the deal.

Biden has promised to reenter the deal if Tehran comes back in compliance.

The New York Times on Tuesday reported that senior administration officials, including Pompeo, walked Trump back from launching a military strike on Iran after the International Atomic Energy Agency reportedly concluded that the Islamic Republic has enriched uranium 12 times beyond the limit set in the nuclear accord.

Trump during his time in office has also maintained a friendly relationship with Modi, who was similarly elected on a populist platform. Trump traveled to India earlier this year before the explosion of the coronavirus pandemic, in what will likely be his last foreign trip as president. He and Modi participated in a “Howdy Modi” rally in Houston last year that mirrored one of the president’s signature campaign rallies. 

Trump has refused to acknowledge the election results and his campaign has filed a number of lawsuits that experts view as highly unlikely to impact the results in any one state.  

Updated: 4:05 p.m.

Tags Benjamin Netanyahu biden administration Donald Trump foreign leaders Joe Biden Mike Pompeo Pope Francis

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