Israel’s foreign ministry spoke with ‘most’ countries in the Middle East, says former chief diplomat

“Without going into details, I spoke with most of the foreign ministers in the Middle East,” said Gabi Ashkenazi.

By Josh Plank, World Israel News

Gabi Ashkenazi, who left office last week after a year as foreign minister, said that he had been in contact with most Middle Eastern foreign ministries during his term despite their lack of official relations with Israel.

“I can tell you, without going into details, I spoke with most of the foreign ministers in the Middle East,” said Ashkenazi in an interview with Channel 12 News on Saturday.

While he would not give specifics, he said the countries included “those who we will have relations with.”

Ashkenazi, who is currently taking a break from public office after deciding not to run again with Blue and White in the last round of elections, believes that former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu regrets allowing the rotation agreement with Benny Gantz to fall apart.

After the Netanyahu-Gantz government failed, the country was sent to its fourth national election in two years, resulting in Netanyahu’s replacement by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

“He [Netanyahu] is the architect of the formation of this government,” Ashkenazi said.

Ashkenazi was replaced as foreign minister last week by Yair Lapid, who is set to become prime minister in two years as part of a rotation agreement with Bennett.

Ashkenazi told Channel 12 that he was optimistic about both Bennett’s and Lapid’s abilities to lead the country.

In a speech at the hand-over ceremony last Monday, Lapid said that he would use his position as foreign minister to strengthen Israel’s presence in the region.

“Great things have happened this past year. We need to continue the development that started with the Abraham Accords. To work to strengthen the peace with the Gulf States, with Egypt and with Jordan,” said Lapid.

“We will work to sign agreements with more countries in the region and beyond. It’s a process, it won’t happen in a day, but the Foreign Ministry will coordinate those efforts,” he said.