Live updates: follow the latest news on Joe Biden's Middle East visit
US President Joe Biden on Thursday will dive into his first full day in the region by meeting Israel’s new caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid and reaffirming America's “unbreakable” bond with Israel.
The two leaders will sign a joint declaration aimed at countering Iran, a senior administration official told reporters.
“This declaration is pretty significant and it includes a commitment to never allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon and to address Iran's destabilising activities, particularly threats to Israel,” the official said.
The declaration will build on the 2016 agreement signed by the two countries while Mr Biden was vice president.
Mr Biden will then attend an online meeting of the so-called I2U2 quad, which consists of Israel, India, the US and the UAE. The respective leaders will discuss issues such as food security, the official said.
“It's an interesting moment to be in the Middle East, because of all the global challenges and crises, very few of them, if any, are really emanating here from the Middle East region,” the official said.
“And in fact, countries here in the Middle East region are lending their resources, their ingenuity, their innovation to actually try to tackle those challenges.”
The official said an announcement is expected to be made on $2 billion in projects for agricultural parks in India.
Following the I2U2 summit, Mr Biden will meet Israel’s President Isaac Herzog and then former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The US official attempted to stave off any sense that Mr Biden's meeting with Mr Netanyahu had anything to do with Israel's autumn elections, saying that visiting the leader of the Israeli opposition was “traditional”.
On Friday, the president will travel to occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, where he will meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
The senior official said the meeting will be about “enhancing” economic opportunities and that the US would be looking into helping the Palestinians develop 4G networks across the West Bank and Gaza.