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Israel Premier, Palestinian President speak ahead of Biden's visit

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid makes a speech as he holds a joint press conference with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita (not seen) in Rabat, Morocco on August 11, 2021 [Jalal Morchidi/Anadolu Agency]
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on August 11, 2021 [Jalal Morchidi/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli Prime Minister, Yair Lapid, spoke over the phone on Friday with Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, according to his office, Anadolu News Agency reports.

The two leaders discussed cooperation between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, and the need to maintain stability in the region, Lapid's office said in a statement.

During the contact, Abbas congratulated Lapid on becoming a Prime Minister, while the Premier offered his best wishes to the Palestinian leader on the occasion of Eid Al-Adha, which starts on Saturday.

Eid Al-Adha marks the culmination of the annual Hajj (pilgrimage) ritual in Saudi Arabia.

Hussein Al-Sheikh, Secretary-General of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), tweeted that "the latest situation was discussed briefly" during the contact.

The phone call was the first between Abbas and a sitting Israeli Prime Minister in five years.

The contact came ahead of a planned visit by US President Joe Biden to Israel and Ramallah next week.

On Thursday, Abbas met with Israeli Defence Minister, Benny Gantz, at his office in Ramallah.

Former Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, had declined to meet or talk to Abbas when he was in power.

Lapid took office at the beginning of this month until holding early elections 1 November.

READ: Biden's Mideast visit has 2 main goals, Palestine not one of them, analysts say

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