Lapid explicitly condemns Russia for invasion of Ukraine, in stark contrast to Bennett’s careful diplomatic statements.
By World Israel News Staff
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid jetted off to Romania on Sunday, meeting with his Romanian counterpart Bogdan Aurescu and emphasizing Israel’s efforts, alongside European partners, to negotiate an end to the Russia-Ukraine war and help manage the ongoing refugee crisis.
Unlike Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who has carefully toed the diplomatic line and has refused to explicitly criticize Russia for the invasion, Lapid singled out Moscow when speaking to the press.
“Israel is like Romania – we condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” Lapid told the media after meeting with Aurescu.
“[The invasion] has no justification and we call on Russia to stop the shooting and the attacks and solve the problems around the negotiating table.”
I just concluded a working meeting with Romanian Foreign Minister @BogdanAurescu in Bucharest. The Romanian Government has been working closely with us and was extremely helpful in saving many lives. 🇮🇱 🇷🇴
📸: Shlomi Amsalem/GPO pic.twitter.com/vIEA4gCG5i
— יאיר לפיד – Yair Lapid🟠 (@yairlapid) March 13, 2022
“Israel will do all it can to help reach a peaceful solution,” Lapid added. “We are working in complete coordination with our ally, the United States, and with our European partners in order to try and end this violent tragedy as quickly as possible.”
Bennett has floated the idea of hosting peace talks in Jerusalem, and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has recently expressed his enthusiasm for that potential scenario.
Last week, a summary of a call between Bennett and Russian President Vladimir Putin released by the Kremlin mentioned the Jerusalem summit offer but did not state whether Moscow was open to the idea.
“We are in full coordination with our ally, the U.S., and our European partners, to try to end this violent tragedy as quickly as possible,” Lapid stated.
He specifically thanked Aurescu for his country’s cooperation with Israel during the crisis.
“The Romanian Government has been working closely with us and was extremely helpful in saving many lives,” he said.
“Jewish children from an orphanage in Odessa, children with cancer who have been sent to Israel for treatment, and thousands of refugees that have escaped through the Siret crossing… their lives have been saved by the cooperation between us.”
During his whirlwind trip to eastern Europe, Lapid is expected to meet with Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă in Bucharest, tour Jewish Agency refugee centers and visit Israeli foreign ministry officials helping to evacuate Jews and Israelis to safety.
After Romania, Lapid will travel to Slovakia, where he will meet with President Zuzana Caputova and Foreign Minister Ivan Korčok in Bratislava.