U.S., Israel unified in stopping Iranian nuclear capability
July 30, 2012 2 Comments
By Lauren Appelbaum, Political Editor
Washington, July 30 – On Tuesday – a day after Mitt Romney’s visit to Israel – U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will be visiting the country to discuss new ways to cooperate between the United States and Israel.
Speaking to reporters on a plane to Tunisia Sunday, Panetta said the U.S. and Israel are unified in their position on preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
The goal of his meetings is to strengthen ties between the two countries “so that we can be fully prepared to deal with any contingency that may happen,” he said.
Panetta said the U.S. respects Israel’s “sovereignty and their ability to make decisions with regard to their own security.”
And both countries, he said, support tough international sanctions against Iran as opposed to military measures.
“My view is that they have not made any decisions with regards to Iran, and they continue to support the international effort to bring pressure against Iran to pull back from their efforts to develop their nuclear capability,” he said.
Panetta plans to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak in Jerusalem on Tuesday and Wednesday. The trip to Israel is part of a five-day swing that includes stops in Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan.
During the past three weeks, several U.S. officials have visited Israel, effectively sandwiching Romney’s visit. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon and Counterterrorism Chief John O. Brennan are just a few of the U.S. officials who have been in Israel recently.