Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen and Israeli Minister
of Defense Yitzhak Mordechai discussed a broad range of issues
related to the U.S.-Israeli defense and security relationship,
and developments in the Middle East region in meetings held at
the Pentagon today. Their discussions reflected the close, long-
standing, cooperative ties between the two defense
Secretary Cohen and Minister Mordechai reiterated mutual
U.S.-Israeli commitment to their strategic defense cooperation
and agreed that bilateral cooperation has provided beneficial
know-how and experience to both U.S. and Israeli armed forces.
They also discussed efforts by opponents of the peace process --
particularly threats posed by weapons of mass destruction,
surface-to-surface missiles and terrorism.
Minister of Defense
Mordechai underscored the determination of the Government of
Israel to pursue further the Middle East Peace Process while
ensuring Israel's security.
Secretary Cohen reaffirmed U.S. commitment to maintaining
Israel's qualitative edge to deter the enemies of peace and to
help Israel develop responses to threats posed by detractors.
Secretary Cohen assured Minister of Defense Mordechai that the
United States was committed to working with Israel to provide for
The two men also discussed the recent
successes of the joint U.S.-Israel Arrow ATBM program and agreed
to accelerate the program; agreed that the United States and
Israel will extend work to test the effectiveness of the tactical
high energy laser against the threat posed by Katyusha rockets;
and discussed closer cooperation and increased commitment between
the two defense establishments in the area of counter-terrorism.
This was Minister Mordechai's first meeting on these issues
with Secretary Cohen.