Israeli, U.S. officials in strategic dialogue


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israeli and U.S. officials held strategic talks over Iran’s nuclear threat and Middle East peace.

Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg traveled to Israel Wednesday to lead a U.S. delegation in the periodic strategic dialogue.

A State Department statement called the strategic dialogue "an ongoing process that the United States values as a meaningful tool to discuss a wide range of issues that concern both of our countries."

Among the Israelis participating in the dialogue is Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon.

At the same time, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is in Washington for high-level talks focusing on Iran and its potential nuclear threat.

Barak’s top stops are with Defense Secretary Robert Gates; Dennis Ross, the White House Iran czar; and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

U.S. officials have intensified consultations with Israel in recent weeks as Iran has hardened its opposition to increased transparency for its nuclear program.

Barak is also scheduled to meet with top congressional leaders and with George Mitchell, the senior Obama administration peace talks envoy to the region.

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