WASHINGTON – IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi arrived in Washington for an official visit Monday.
Ashkenazi, who will meet with Pentagon officials and congressmen, is expected to reiterate Israel's stand regarding the necessary sanctions on Iran.
Israel believes that any sanctions imposed on Iran must have the full and united backing of the international community if they are to work.
Ashkenazi met with Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy shortly after arriving in DC. He is also scheduled to meet with US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, White House National Security Advisor James Jones and Senator John McCain.
The IDF chief's meeting with Rice is expected to focus on the Goldstone Report. Rice spearheads effort to avoid a UN Security Council session on the report, as well as the US' efforts to see sanctions imposed on Iran.
Ashkenazi, Mullen during a February meeting (Photo: Yaron Brener)
Ashkenazi will review the IDF's operations during the Gaza war and explain to Rice the measures taken to prevent and minimize any civilian casualties.
He is also expected to address the military's efforts to facilitate normalcy in the West Bank, such as the fact that the IDF has been able to reduce the number of roadblocks in the area from 42 to 14.
In other meetings, Ashkenazi will address the issue of arms smuggling from Iran to Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas.
Ashkenazi and his wife, Ronit, are expected to join Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen and his wife, Deborah, for breakfast on Tuesday; after which Ashkenazi and Mullen will meet in private.