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Biden spoke with Israeli candidates

WASHINGTON (JTA) -Joe Biden spoke with each of the candidates in the coming Israeli elections.

On Thursday, staff for the vice-president elect released a list of foreign leaders with whom he spoke on Monday; of the seven, three were Israeli: Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister who heads the centrist Kadima Party; Ehud Barak, the defense minister who heads the Labor Party on the left; and Benjamin Netanyahu, the opposition leader who heads the rightist Likud Party.

All three are leading their parties into the Feb. 10 elections.

Biden, a 35-year U.S. senator from Delaware whose career focus has been foreign policy, is expected to take a leading diplomatic role in President-elect Barack Obama’s administration.

Biden also spoke with Tony Blair, the former British prime minister who is the envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks of the "Quartet," the grouping of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia that guides Middle East peacemaking.

Obama last week spoke with Ehud Olmert, the outgoing Israeli prime minister.

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