U.S. and Israeli officials attending the first meeting of a new defense policy advisory group issued a joint press release today. It reads as follows:
TEL AVIV, September 30 -- The inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Israeli Defense Policy Advisory Group (DPAG) was held in Tel Aviv, Israel, today. The meeting was co-chaired on the U.S. side by Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Walter Slocombe and on the Israeli side by Director General of the Ministry of Defense Ilan Biran. The creation of the group was agreed to between President Clinton and Prime Minister Barak when they met in Washington in July.
The purpose of the group is to coordinate and plan the cooperation between the U.S. Department of Defense and the Israeli Ministry of Defense. Channels of defense cooperation and dialogue between the two defense and military establishments will be further strengthened and consolidated under this group with one aim being better able to jointly meet the challenges posed by new and emerging threats from missiles and weapons of mass destruction. The U.S. delegation was comprised of senior civilian and policy officials from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the U.S. European Command. The Israeli side consisted of senior Ministry of Defense and Israel Defense Forces civilian and military officials. The two sides discussed wide-ranging issues and topics on the U.S.-Israel bilateral defense and military dialogue.
As the guest of MoD Director General Biran, Under Secretary of Defense Slocombe also traveled to northern Israel to get briefed on the situation and the special security needs resulting from the terrain of that area.