Secretary Hagel met with Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon earlier today at the Pentagon for their third face to face meeting in the past six months. Both leaders expressed appreciation for the opportunity to frequently share views on the range of regional security challenges the United States and Israel are facing together.
On Iran, Secretary Hagel noted that while the United States intends to test the prospect for a diplomatic solution with Iran we remain clear eyed about the challenges ahead and will not waver from our firm policy to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Secretary Hagel applauded the announcement by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria has started. While much works remains to be done, this recent progress is a step in the right direction to eliminating this threat.
The leaders also discussed progress on the United States effort to increase Israel's qualitative military edge with advanced capabilities that Secretary Hagel announced on his visit to Israel earlier this year.
Both Secretary Hagel and Minister Ya'alon thanked one another for continued unprecedented levels of security cooperation between the United States and Israel and pledged to remain in close touch.