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Hours after Wye redeployment, Israel and Britain sign agreement

LONDON, Nov. 22 (JTA) – Israel has reaped a diplomatic benefit from last month’s Wye accord. Just hours after Israel began its further redeployment from the West Bank and released 250 Palestinian prisoners last Friday, Israel and Britain signed a security memorandum to cooperate in defense research. Britain’s ambassador to Israel said the memorandum resulted from the Oct. 23 signing of the Wye agreement at the White House. The memorandum calls for enhanced joint weapons research and facilitating information exchanges. Two areas that are likely to benefit directly from the agreement are the fields of naval high-tech and pilotless surveillance drones. Joint nuclear research is excluded from the pact. This is the first such memorandum of understanding between Britain and a non-NATO member-state. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his satisfaction at the signing of the memorandum in a call to Israel’s ambassador to London and a senior British Defense Ministry official. He described the memorandum as a “positive development” that he hoped “will serve as a foundation for future relations.” Netanyahu is visiting London this week for meetings with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Foreign Secretary Robin Cook.

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