MIDDLE EASTPOLITICS

National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice delivers remarks at Palmachim Air Force Base, Israel

Susan RiceNational Security Advisor Susan Rice led the U.S. delegation to the U.S.-Israel Consultative Group meetings on May 7-8. The U.S. delegation included senior representatives from the Departments of State, Defense, Treasury, and the intelligence community. The U.S.-Israel Consultative Group meets regularly for strategic inter-agency consultations with senior members of the U.S. and Israeli governments to discuss a wide range of bilateral and regional security issues.
This is a Consultative Group meeting that preexists Ambassador Rice’s visit and which she attended as the lead of the U.S. delegation. The meetings are reflective of the intense security cooperation that the United States has with Israel, and the commitment that Washington and, in particular, the Obama administration has to Israel’s security. Numerous members of the Israeli government have testified to the fact that there has never been greater cooperation, security cooperation between our two countries. This was the first visit of Ambassador Rice to Israel in the capacity of National Security Advisor.

Following productive bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Peres and National Security Advisor Yossi Cohen on May 7, National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice and the U.S. delegation participated in the U.S.-Israel Consultative Group meetings in Jerusalem on May 8. The intensive and highly constructive meetings covered a range of bilateral and regional security issues.

On Iran, the U.S. delegation reaffirmed our commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. The U.S delegation briefed on the ongoing diplomatic efforts of the P5+1 and EU to reach a comprehensive solution that peacefully resolves the international community’s concerns with its program. The delegations held thorough consultations on all aspects of the challenge posed by Iran, and pledged to continue the unprecedented coordination between the United States and Israel as the negotiations continue.

On other critical regional and bilateral issues, the delegations shared views candidly and intensively, in the spirit of the extraordinary and unprecedented security cooperation between our two countries.

The U.S. Delegation included Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, Under Secretary of the Treasury David Cohen, Assistant Secretary of Defense Derek Chollet, Deputy Director of the CIA Avril Haines, Director of the Joint Staff Lieutenant General David Goldfein, Special Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for the Middle East Phil Gordon, and U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro.

National Security Advisors Rice and Cohen agreed that the U.S.-Israel Consultative Group is an effective forum for strategic interagency security consultations between the U.S. and Israeli Governments, and will continue to meet regularly in Washington and Jerusalem.

Remarks by National Security Advisor Susan Rice

“Good morning everyone, it’s really wonderful to be back in Israel, and I want to start by congratulating the people of Israel on your celebration of 66 years of independence this week.  I met with President Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu on my visit over the last couple of days, and I had a chance to convey President Obama’s warmest wishes as well.

I want to begin by saying to Yossi and General Shohat, as you know I just had the opportunity to take a tour and see the outstanding work you’re doing to keep the Israeli people secure.  Visiting this base, it’s clear that the strength and depth of the security cooperation between Israel and the United States has never been greater.  Indeed under President Obama’s leadership, we’ve taken our security cooperation to unprecedented levels.

Just two months ago, our governments signed an agreement, under which nearly half a billion dollars from the United States will be invested in the Iron Dome system.  That will take our total investment in Iron Dome, which has saved countless Israeli lives, to nearly $900 million – a sign of our continued commitment to Israel’s security.  We’re going to fund additional batteries that will protect more Israeli communities, military bases, and critical infrastructure from rocket and mortar attacks.  And that’s why, here at Palmachim Air Force Base, where brave Israeli men and women in uniform operate cutting edge American and Israeli technology, there can be no doubt whatsoever:  America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unwavering and ironclad.

Together, we’ve made enormous progress in our missile defense technology, including in the Arrow 3 and David’s Sling programs.  But obviously, our work is not done.  We will continue our joint research, our joint investment and our joint training.  We remain deeply committed to Israel’s qualitative military edge, and this impressive facility and all the work being done here is a wonderful example of that enduring partnership.

The American people care deeply about the people of Israel.  We admire your commitment to advancing the values of a free and open society, while facing the uncertainties of living in a very challenging neighborhood.  Our two nations are forever bound by our shared history and our shared values, and every American dollar spent on Israel’s security is an investment in protecting the many interests that our nations share—whether that’s preventing rockets from terrorizing the Israeli people, defending against the growing ballistic missile threat in the region, or advancing our commitment to defend freedom and democracy.

Thank you all for your service and for your friendship with the American people.”

Source: White House

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