Monday, September 9, 1996 - 2:30 p.m. (EDT)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, of the State of Israel, to the Pentagon]
Perry: It is my pleasure and my honor to welcome Prime Minister Netanyahu for his second visit as Prime Minister to the Pentagon. The United States and Israel share a common interest in peace and stability in the Middle East. And when I meet with the Prime Minister today, I will reaffirm my personal commitment to ensuring that Israel maintain its qualitative military edge. For example, we are assisting in providing Israel early warning data of missile attack and we are assisting in a ballistic missile defense program: the ARROW.
In that line, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Prime Minister for the very successful firing of the ARROW that occurred just two weeks ago. Now, let me introduce Prime Minister Netanyahu
Netanyahu: Thank you, Mr. Secretary, it's becoming a habit to visit the Pentagon as a home away from home. But I very much welcome the friendship of the United States; of the President; and your own personal friendship. We are witnessing today the realities of life in the Middle East, where the United States has taken a bold and responsible action against aggression and one that Israel, of course, fully supports.
As the secretary says, we are cooperating on missile defenses. I think this is something that is important not only for the present, but for the future. And, what we can achieve together is to make this world -- not only our part of the world -- but this world a safer place. We can not do it alone, we do it with the cooperation of the United States. In our own way, in our own modest way, I think we are contributing to the larger defenses of our free societies. And, I want to thank you again, Mr. Secretary. Your cooperation and support has been, for us, a very, very important reassurance of our alliance and of the importance of our cooperation. Thank you.
Perry: Thank you.
Q: What role do you expect Israel to play, if any, in your effort to contain Saddam Hussein?
Perry: We have not requested Israel to play any role in that. We welcome their support and the good words -- which you just heard the Prime Minister speak. But we are not asking for any support.
Q: Dr. Perry, has the United States abandoned its Kurdish friends and allies in northern Iraq? And, is the U.S. military helping to remove Americans, or threatened Kurds, from that region?
Perry: On the first question, President Clinton answered that question this morning and I don't have anything to add; the second question had to do with the military ... ?
Q: Is the United States' military helping to remove any Americans, or threatened Kurds, from northern Iraq?
A: Again, the President commented on that. We are providing some assistance to some of the Kurds who work with the Military Cooperation Commission, which was in Iraq. Thank you.