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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 591-97
November 04, 1997

COHEN/MORDECHAI DISCUSS REGIONAL INTERESTS

Secretary of Defense William Cohen and Israel Minister of Defense Yitzhak Mordechai concluded a day of meetings on a broad range of issues related to developments in the Middle East region and the U.S.-Israeli defense and security relationship. This was Mordechai's second meeting on these issues with Cohen. Their discussions reflected the long-standing, close ties between our two defense establishments.

Cohen and Mordechai focused on the long-term threats to the interests of both the United States and Israel in Middle East region. In that regard, they discussed the destabilizing effect that long-range missiles and weapons of mass destruction have on peace and stability.

Mordechai presented Cohen with Israel's long-term defense procurement plan designed to meet these threats in the coming years. Cohen reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to maintaining Israel's qualitative military edge and to help Israel acquire and develop responses to the threats the country faces.

In that vein, they discussed Israel Defense Force's long-term modernization needs over the next 10 years; reviewed efforts to stop the flow of missile technology into Iran; discussed the joint U.S.-Israel Arrow Anti-Tactical Ballistic Missile program and agreed to continue to study ways to enhance its capabilities and to make the program more robust; and agreed on the importance of continued close cooperation and commitment between the two defense establishments in the area of counter-terrorism.

Mordechai expressed his deep appreciation and gratitude on behalf of the state of Israel for all that the United States has done to bolster Israel's defense and security. He thanked Cohen for his personal commitment to work with Israel to continue to meet its defense needs. Following the conclusion of their meeting, Mordechai invited Cohen to visit Israel later this year to further review these issues.