Israeli president, Turkey's Erdogan talk in sign of thaw

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JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s newly inaugurated president spoke Monday with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a sign of a possible thaw after years of frosty relations between the two former allies.

President Isaac Herzog’s office said in a statement that the two leaders emphasized “that Israel-Turkey relations are of great significance for security and stability in the eastern Mediterranean” and that cooperation had great potential for both countries.

Israel and Turkey were once close regional partners, but relations between the two countries soured in the the past decade. The Turkish government frequently criticizes Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians.

According to the Israeli President’s Office’s statement, Herzog and Erdogan said that “ongoing dialog despite all the differences of opinion” was important, particularly for advancing steps toward a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.

Herzog took office last week after he was elected by the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in a June vote. He spoke Saturday with neighboring Jordan’s King Abdullah II after Israel and Jordan agreed to initiate negotiations for the sale of water to the Hashemite kingdom.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has put mending strained relations with Jordan as a top priority of the newly instated government.

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