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EU foreign policy chief says bloc hopes for ‘fresh start’ in relations with Israel

Last month, a new cabinet was formed in Israel, putting an end to the 12-year tenure of Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister.

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Brussels: The European Union sees Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s visit to Brussels as an opportunity to restart bilateral relations, which have deteriorated in the past years, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday.

Last month, a new cabinet was formed in Israel, putting an end to the 12-year tenure of Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister. Naftali Bennett became the new prime minister, and Lapid took up the post of foreign minister. Under the coalition agreement, Lapid is set to supersede Bennett in two years.

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“Today, we are going to receive the visit of the new foreign affairs minister of Israel. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to exchange with him. It’s important that the new Israeli government come here to Brussels. It’s an opportunity for a fresh start, for restarting the relationship with Israel, also from the point of view of our bilateral relations but also with the situation in the Middle East,” Borrell told reporters.

“I think it’s a good opportunity for us to restart our relations, which in the past, had quite deteriorated,” he added.

Over the past two years, Israel has seen several inconclusive parliamentary elections. In June 2021, a brand-new coalition of right-wing, leftist, centrist and Arab conservative forces was formed after Netanyahu failed to secure support for his new cabinet.

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