US, Israeli defense chiefs meet at the Pentagon (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) 04/19/12)
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US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta hosted Israeli counterpart Ehud
Barak Thursday in their second Pentagon meeting in as many months as
concern grows over Syrian unrest and Iran´s nuclear ambitions.
The closed-door conversation focused on the "US-Israel defense
relationship and mutual regional security defense interests,"
including Iran, Syria and effects of the Arab Spring on the region,
the Pentagon said in a statement.
The meeting took place amid Western efforts to end the violence in
Syria, where the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has now claimed
11,000 lives, according to the Britain-based watchdog Syrian
Observatory for Human Rights.
It was also less than a week after world powers resumed talks with
Iran on its disputed nuclear program. Iran claims it is solely for
peaceful purposes, but the United States, Israel and others suspect
it seeks an atomic bomb.
President Barack Obama´s administration has expressed confidence that
sanctions coupled with diplomacy can resolve the years-long standoff
as it seeks to convince Israel to tone down talk of pre-emptive air
strikes on Iran.
At the end of their meeting, Panetta and Barak marked Holocaust
Memorial Day by lighting candles in remembrance of the six million
Jews killed by the Nazis during World War II. (Copyright © 2012
Agence France Presse. 04/19/12)
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