Iran, Syria at forefront of Gantz talks in US

By
March 21, 2012 02:21

IDF Chief of Staff meets with US counterpart in Washington; "regular, candid dialogue is critical as we face common threats, challenges," says Dempsey.

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IDF Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz [file]

IDF Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz 390 (R). (photo credit:Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz met with his US counterpart, Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, in Washington on Tuesday.

The two military chiefs spent most of their meeting discussing the Iranian threat, as well as developments in Syria.

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“Regular and candid dialogue is critical as we face common threats and challenges,” Dempsey wrote on his Facebook page following the meeting.

During the meeting, Gantz presented Dempsy with the most up-to-date evaluation on Middle Eastern security issues, the IDF spokesman said, without going into further details.

The visit is Gantz’s first official trip to the US. He has met with senior White House officials and US defense figures in recent days.

The meeting came amid continued reports that the US is seeking to convince Israel to freeze plans to strike Iran’s nuclear program.

Despite the reports, both Israeli and American leaders say cooperation between Jerusalem and Washington on defense has never been closer.

Gantz began his visit in Canada, where he met his Canadian counterpart, Gen.

Walt Natynczyk, for an extensive meeting on global security issues.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that a nuclear Iran posed a grave danger to the future of the Middle East, the security of the State of Israel, and “the economic and security stability” of the whole world on Tuesday.

He made the comments in Berlin during talks with his German counterpart, Thomas de Maizière.

In addition to the Iranian threat, the two discussed events in Syria. Barak said that the “slaughter in Syria is a pattern of action that must be rejected and stopped immediately, both by the international community and the Arab community.”

Barak also met with the German finance minister, and is schedule to meet with the country’s foreign minister on Wednesday.

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