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US, Israel Defence Chiefs discuss Iran, Ukraine war in Washington

May 19, 2022 at 7:26 pm

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in Brussels, Belgium on 22 October 2021 [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]

US Defence Secretary, Lloyd Austin, discussed a range of issues Thursday with his Israeli counterpart, Benny Gantz, including Iran, the war in Ukraine and tensions between Israel and Palestine, Anadolu News Agency reports.

“The Secretary reiterated the United States’ ironclad commitment to Israel’s security and to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge,” the Pentagon said in a statement about the meeting in Washington.

“The two leaders discussed the Administration’s commitment to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and addressing Iran’s destabilising actions throughout the region. Secretary Austin also emphasised the Department’s focus on working closely with Allies and partners to help Ukraine defend itself in the face of Russia’s unprovoked and unjust aggression,” it said.

Austin praised Gantz for “Israel’s deepening relationships with countries across the region and the increasing opportunities for military-to-military cooperation enabled by Israel’s transition into the US Central Command Area of Responsibility,” it added.

The two defence chiefs also discussed tensions between Israel and Palestine. Austin “underscored the importance of de-escalating tensions and protecting civilians in Jerusalem and the West Bank,” said the statement.

“Secretary Austin also reiterated the Administration’s support for a two-state solution that provides dignity and security for Israelis and Palestinians alike,” it added.

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