Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud were on a conference call with other top diplomats, organized by the US last week.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken hosted the call, which was about the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and included several other foreign ministers.
Productive discussion with several counterparts today regarding the Omicron variant and the urgent need to accelerate efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic and for our partners to redouble coordinated efforts. https://t.co/2MR9KhL1i5— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) December 21, 2021
The presence of the foreign ministers of Israel and Saudi Arabia, which do not have diplomatic relations was first reported by CNN and verified by The Jerusalem Post.
Following the Abraham Accords, in which Israel established diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco last year, the Trump administration attempted to convince Riyadh to normalize ties with Israel, even orchestrating a meeting between former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in November 2020.
Lapid tweeted after the December 21 call: “I participated in a Zoom for foreign ministers about Omicron, together with US Secretary of State Blinken and the foreign ministers of Japan, India, Mexico, Australia, Germany and many other countries.
השתתפתי הערב בזום שרי חוץ על האומיקרון, יחד עם מזכיר המדינה האמריקאי @ABlinken ושרי החוץ של יפן, הודו, מקסיקו, אוסטרליה, גרמניה ומדינות רבות נוספות. דיברנו על ההתמודדות הגלובלית, האתגרים והפתרונות להתפרצות האומיקרון. pic.twitter.com/TISPtbem75— יאיר לפיד - Yair Lapid (@yairlapid) December 21, 2021
“We talked about how the world is handling the Omicron outbreak, the challenges and the solutions,” he wrote. “I updated them that Israel donated a million vaccines to African states...I concluded that the virus doesn’t care if we are Muslims, Jews, Christians or Hindus and we shouldn’t care either; we have to fight it together.”
Today, @SecBlinken convened important call of Foreign Affairs Ministers to discuss #Omicron and how to adapt our global response. We must do more & in coordination. Our efforts must be geared towards our African partners and the focus shifted from vaccines to vaccinations! pic.twitter.com/EjDzYb49C6— Jutta Urpilainen (@JuttaUrpilainen) December 21, 2021
The State Department did not list participants in its statement about the call, which said the foreign ministers “exchanged information to better understand the Omicron variant, coordinate a global response, and accelerate efforts to combat COVID-19.”
Officials from the EU and China, among others, tweeted their participation in the call as well.
I attended the Virtual Meeting with Foreign Ministers Regarding the Omicron Variant convened by @SecBlinken on behalf of Chinese State Councilor & Foreign Minister Wang Yi. https://t.co/8SRZz4Q8AR pic.twitter.com/Z5gOzDx6ZL— Qin Gang 秦刚 (@AmbQinGang) December 22, 2021