Thursday, April 12, 2007
U.S. defense secretary to visit Israel
"WASHINGTON - U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates will visit Israel next week for a series of meetings with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz on the strategic situation in the Middle East.
The visit, scheduled for April 17, is the first time a U.S. Defense Secretary will be visiting Israel in eight years.
American sources told Haaretz on Tuesday that the visit was decided and a date finalized, though an official announcement on the matter has not been made public.
The visit, which comes about a month after Peretz visited Washington, will also deal with bilateral defense ties between the U.S. and Israel......
Gates' main mission at this point is to oversea the renewed effort to stabilize Iraq, in light of President George Bush's decision to increase the number of U.S. troops in that country.
American sources told Haaretz yesterday that Gates is interested in hearing what the Israeli leadership thinks about the situation in Iraq. He is also planning to discuss tactics for dealing with the IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) employed by terrorists in Iraq, which have taken a toll on U.S. forces......"