In their semi-annual bilateral Strategic Dialogue meeting Thursday, Israel and the United States condemned Syrian President Bashar Assad for the ongoing violence he is inflicted upon the Syrian population, and singled out Iran and Hezbollah as being chiefly responsible for supporting the embattled Alawite president.

The Strategic Dialogue, which is held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, is the highest level of regularly scheduled diplomatic meetings between the two countries. Israel was represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, which the US delegation was headed by Secretary of State William Burns.

The officials discussed a wide range of issues pertaining to the Middle East, focusing on Iran's drive for nuclear weapons capabilities. In a joint press release, the two countries stated that both countries remain "determined to prevent" Iran from achieving these capabilities, and slammed the Iranian regime for its "destabilizing role" and "promotion of international terrorism."

The sides also agreed that the ongoing conflict taking place in Syria, which the organizations estimate has resulted in the deaths of over 17,000 people so far, threatens to spill into the region. "the continued violence of the Syrian regime against its citizens could also lead to severe consequences for the entire region," the delegations stated.

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