Mofaz and Rice during visit
Photo: Shmulik Almani

Israel, US meet to discuss common Middle East strategy

Minister Shaul Mofaz speaks about possible future sanctions on Iran, replacing current director of IAEA

WASHINGTON – On Thursday, the United States and Israel conducted a Strategic Dialogue led by Under Secretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transportation Shaul Mofaz to strengthen the already close strategic cooperation between the two countries.


This is the third Strategic Dialogue between Israel and the US this year. The last one took place in June.


"These talks are a manifestation of the profound historical and security ties between the two nations and are based on close friendship, shared values and common interests," a joint statement issued by the two sides following the talks said. "The Strategic Dialogue provided a welcome opportunity to discuss a broad range of regional issues that are of great importance to both Israel and the United States."


The US and Israeli teams discussed Iran’s destabilizing regional impact. They shared their latest assessments of Iran’s nuclear program and diplomatic efforts underway to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.


Earlier, Minister Shaul Mofaz spoke to reporters regarding joint America-Israeli efforts vis-à-vis Iran and said: "We're progressing with the strategy that was put in place and we are raising the level of sanctions incrementally. There are more severe measures that can be taken against Iran, its leadership and its economy. It is important to exhaust all these possibilities before we resort to the use of force," Mofaz told reporters.


The two governments also discussed the situation in Lebanon, including the need for full implementation of UNSC Resolution 1701 and the next steps in the international community's common efforts to prevent the rearming of Hizbullah.


Replacing ElBaradei is a good idea

Mofaz also echoed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's comments on Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei in his remarks to reporters after meeting with American officials.


"Replacing ElBaradei is the right option," Mofaz said. "He is saying that he doesn't know about an Iranian nuclear weapons program, it's as if he's not familiar with his job," Mofaz claimed.


The US is currently having a difficult time convincing UN Security Council veto-holders Russia and China to support additional sanctions on Iran. ElBaradei has claimed that it is not at all clear that Iran has nuclear weapons ambitions although the US and Israel are convinced that the Iranians do intend to procure a nuclear arsenal.


פרסום ראשון: 11.08.07, 22:11
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