US Defense Chief Lloyd Austin to Visit Israel Next Week: Report


US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will visit Israel next week for the first trip to the Middle East by a member of President Joe Biden’s cabinet, according to a report Tuesday.

While in Israel, Austin is expected to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, according to the Axios news site.

Austin, a retired general, headed the United States Central Command, which operates in the Middle East, during part of Gantz’s tenure as IDF chief of staff. The two spoke shortly after Austin took office in January.

Get The Times of Israel Daily Issue By Email And Never Miss Our Top Stories Sign Up For Free

Israeli officials cited in the report said the Austin meetings will focus on Iran and other regional issues, as well as ensuring that the Biden administration will respect understandings reached during the last weeks of the Trump administration for the United States to guarantee the so-called military advantage. qualitative data from Israel. in the region.

It was unclear if Austin will visit other countries in the region.

The report noted that the visit will come amid growing tensions between Israel and Iran, with the two countries recently accusing each other of attacking several merchant ships and damaging them with explosives. In each case, the vessels were only slightly damaged and there were no injuries in the incidents.

Another such attack was reported on Tuesday, and Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency said an Iranian-flagged ship in the Red Sea was hit by a limpet mine. Israel has not commented on the reported attack, which Saudi broadcaster Al Arabiya claimed Israeli commandos carried out.

Austin’s trip will also come as Biden seeks to rejoin the 2015 deal limiting Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, from which former President Donald Trump withdrew from the United States.

On Tuesday, the remaining parties to the agreement began talks in Vienna about the United States’ return to the pact, and the Biden administration indirectly joined for the first time.

Biden has insisted that he will not lift the sanctions until Iran is back in full compliance with the agreement, which it has increasingly violated since the US withdrawal in 2018.

Israel strongly opposes a return to the agreement in its original form and has communicated this to Washington. The parties recently reestablished a bilateral group to cooperate in the effort to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and agreed to establish a joint team to share intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program.

I am proud to work at The Times of Israel

I’ll tell you the truth: life here in Israel is not always easy. But it is full of beauty and meaning.

I am proud to work at The Times of Israel alongside colleagues who put their hearts into their work day after day to capture the complexity of this extraordinary place.

I believe that our reports set an important tone of honesty and decency that is essential to understanding what is really happening in Israel. It takes a lot of time, commitment and hard work from our team to get this right.

Your support, through membership in The Times of Israel Community, allows us to continue our work. Would you join our community today?

Thanks,

Sarah Tuttle Singer, New Media Editor

Join the Times of Israel community Join our community Already a member? Sign in to stop watching this

You’re serious. We appreciate that!

That’s why we come to work every day, to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage on Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a request. Unlike other media, we have not installed a pay wall. But because the journalism we do is expensive, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.

For as little as $ 6 a month, you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel. AD FREE, in addition to accessing exclusive content available only to members of the Times of Israel community.

Join our community Join our community Already a member? Sign in to stop watching this



Source link