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Barak in Washington to meet with key US officials

January 10, 2013 16:38

Defense minister set to meet with high-ranking US gov't officials, leaders of the defense, intelligence establishments.

Leon Panetta and Ehud Barak

Barak, Panetta hugging 370. (photo credit:Ariel Hermoni)

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is in Washington meeting with top U.S. officials.

Barak, who has announced his resignation, is meeting "leaders of government, and leaders of the defense and intelligence establishments," a two-sentence statement from his office said. His four-day visit began Wednesday.

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He likely will leave office after the Jan. 22 elections in Israel, although pundits in Israel have suggested that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu may return Barak to his job as an out-of-Knesset Cabinet appointee.

The statement from Barak's office did not say what topics would be addressed during the meetings. Similar meetings in the past year have emphasized the best way to end Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program and the efficacy of a military strike in that effort.

It was not clear whether Barak would meet this week with Chuck Hagel, US President Obama's pick to succeed Leon Panetta as defense secretary. Barak, who had a close working relationship with Panetta, also has been friendly over the years with Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska.
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