Dr Mike Evans

Netanyahu meets with US Secretary of Defense in Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Wednesday in Israel.

The two leaders focused their discussion on preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and expanding the region’s circle of peace.

“I am delighted to welcome Secretary Austin once again to Israel. We have a common agenda to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and preventing Iran’s aggression, maintaining the security and prosperity of this region and seeking to expand the circle of peace. That is an important agenda, I look forward to our discussion,” Netanyahu said in a statement from his office.

Also attending the meeting were Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, National Security Council Director Tzachi Hanegbi, the Prime Minister’s Chief-of-Staff Tzachi Braverman and the Prime Minister’s Military Secretary Maj.-Gen. Avi Gil.

A White House readout of the meeting also noted that Austin expressed his commitment to Israel’s right to self-defense and to U.S. security assistance to Israel, including through the historic $38 billion Memorandum of Understanding. The Secretary also reaffirmed the ironclad U.S. commitment to Israel’s security and qualitative military edge.

In addition to a discussion of Iran, Austin noted the lethal consequences of Russia’s expanding military cooperation with Iran in Ukraine. Lethal attack drones are killing innocent civilians.

Austin stated the negative implications this trend poses for the Middle East region including Russia providing technology to Iran in exchange for its assistance.

The American defense secretary also offered condolences to the prime minister for the recent victims of terrorism and reaffirmed his commitment to Israel’s right to defend itself against such attacks.