United States Capitol building in Washington, DC..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israeli and US representatives held high-level talks in Washington on Thursday night, as part of the semi-annual meetings dubbed “Strategic Dialogue.”
The discussions, headed by Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz and Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, centered on hot-button issues from the changes sweeping the Middle East, to the expanding threat of the Islamic State, to joining forces against regional terrorism.
The State Department emphasized the importance of reaching a lasting agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, following the latest round of armed conflict in the Gaza Strip. The parties discussed the 50-day conflict and the urgent need to achieve a durable peace and a permanent halt to the fighting.
Both sides have agreed to take action to rehabilitate and provide much-needed humanitarian aid to Gaza, a statement by the State Department said, while at the same time taking steps to strengthen the Palestinian Authority. Washington reiterated its concern over settlement activity, in light of Israel's latest decision expand its state land
in the West Bank by 4,000 dunams.
"The two sides agreed to continue to consult closely on regional issues," the State Department said.
The Israeli delegation, which includes officials from the Mossad, the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, as well as the Defense and Foreign Ministries, left for the US capital earlier this week to attend two days of talks on the looming threat of Iran’s nuclear program.