Cohen Mideast Trip Keys On Bilateral Defense Issues
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2000 Defense Secretary William S. Cohen departed Nov. 15 on a seven-day trip to the Middle East to reaffirm U.S. security commitments to nations in the region.
The secretary is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Israel, Jordan, Egypt and Bahrain, according to a senior defense official. Cohen is scheduled to discuss bilateral defense issues with kings, emirs, sultans and their defense and foreign ministers, the official said.
“We have long-term, very enduring security interests out in the (Middle East) region, and the secretary regularly consults with the leadership there on many bilateral issues that we want to continue to advance,” the senior defense official said. “There are lots of issues right now in the region which will certainly be part of the dialogue that the secretary will be having with his counterparts.”
Other discussion topics may include Iraq, Iran, weapons of mass destruction and the USS Cole bombing, the official said.