Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon arrived at the Pentagon today for a meeting with Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger on the strategic cooperation between Israel and the United States.
Sharon who is expected to sign a “memorandum of understanding” at the conclusion of the talks here is believed to have brought with him an Israeli Cabinet proposal for a greater implementation of the cooperation than the United States has been willing to approve up to now.
Sharon was welcomed by Weinberger with a full ceremony which included a gun salute, the playing of the Israeli and U.S. national anthems and a review of the guard by the two defense heads. Neither official said anything, but during a photo session as the two entered Weinberger’s office with Israeli Ambassador Ephraim Evron a reporter asked if the memorandum of understanding would be signed today. Weinberger quipped, “There has always been understanding between Israel and the United States.”
Sharon is scheduled to meet Secretary of State Alexander Haig tomorrow and with the Senate Armed Services Committee. Before returning to Israel he is expected to meet with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in New York City.
U.S., ISRAEL AGREES ON STRATEGIC COOPERATION
This afternoon it was announced in a joint U.S.-Israel statement that agreement has been reached on a strategic cooperation pact which includes joint military maneuvers between the two countries. The memorandum of understanding, which was reached following the meeting between Sharon and Weinberger stipulated that the accord was designed to cope with threats to the security of the Middle East by the Soviet Union or Soviet-controlled forces.
According to the statement, which was released by the Pentagon, the new accord also sets up a U.S.-Israel coordinating council, scheduled to meet for the first time in January. The council and its working groups will plan for the joint maneuvers, to be staged in the eastern Mediterranean and will discuss the positioning of U. S. military supplies in Israel. Trade in arms and research and development also will be discussed by the council and its working groups.
Last week both Weinberger and Secretary of State Alexander Haig indicated that the U.S. was not prepared to go beyond the storing of medical supplies in Israel and joint planning in implementing the strategic cooperation agreement worked out by President Reagan and Premier Menachem Begin last September. Israel reacted critically to the statements by Weinberger and Haig because Israel wanted to include heavy U.S. arms such as tanks and jet fighter planes for use by the U.S. Rapid Deployment Force in case of a Soviet threat to the region.
In their joint statement today, Sharon and Weinberger said the memorandum of understanding demonstrates the belief that “this agreement on strategic cooperation reaffirms the common bonds of friendship” between the U.S. and Israel. In addition, Weinberger accepted an invitation from Sharon to visit Israel next year.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.