Barak talks Egypt with U.S. officials


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak talked about the unrest in Egypt with U.S. officials.

The Americans "stressed the United States’ unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security, including through our continued support for Israel’s military, and the unprecedented security cooperation between our two governments," according to a statement Wednesday from Tom Donilon, the U.S. national security adviser, describing Barak’s meeting with Donilon, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

The officials also discussed "the latest developments in Egypt, the need to move forward on Middle East peace, our efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and other regional and bilateral issues. They agreed that the U.S. and Israel would continue to consult closely on common challenges and issues across our shared agenda."

Israeli media reports had said before Barak’s visit that the meetings would be focused on Egypt. Israel is concerned that the protests aiming to drive out the regime of President Hosni Mubarak will destabilize its most important peace partner in the region, and some Israeli commentators have blasted the Obama administration for not doing enough to back Mubarak or ensure an orderly transition to a Western-leaning government.

Barak also met with the second-ranked members of both parties in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the majority leader, and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the minority whip.

On Thursday he was in New York to meet with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

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