US envoy: Obama trip is key symbol of close ties

US Ambassador Dan Shapiro, speaking at annual Herzliya Conference, stresses close cooperation between US and Israel.

By SARA MILLER
March 13, 2013 12:49
US Ambassador Dan Shapiro at the Herzliya Conference, March 13, 2013.

Dan Shapiro370. (photo credit: Courtesy of The Herzliya Conference)

The visit to Israel by US President Barack Obama sends a key message of support not only to Israel and the US public, but also to others who see the warmth of  the relationship between the two nations, US Ambassador Dan Shapiro said Wednesday.

Speaking at the prestigious annual Herzliya Conference, Shapiro told a panel on US-Israel ties, ahead of Obama's visit to Israel later this month, that there is significance in Obama making his trip to Israel, the first visit of his second term. The three-day trip, Shapiro said, gives the two nations' leaders a chance to discuss significant challenges in the Middle East.

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The ambassador repeatedly stressed the close "shared" cooperation between the US and Israel, pointing out that during the IDF's Pillar of Defense operation in Gaza in November, which aimed to halt rocket fire from the strip on Israel's southern communities, the US had strongly backed Israel.

This support, Shapiro said, manifested itself not only through backing of the military operation, but also through a joint diplomatic effort to halt the rocket fire as well as cooperation on the production of the anti-missile Iron Dome defense system.


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