Tel Aviv — U.S. Adm. James Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, concluded two-day talks here today focused on Iran and other regional threats.
Hosted by Winnefeld’s counterpart, Maj. Gen. Yair Navey, the Sept. 6 visit included trips to U.S.-supported military sites and meetings with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and top Israeli military leaders.
At a political meeting following his visit with Israel’s No. 2 military officer, Barak acknowledged differences that still remain over plans to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.
“Israel reserves the right to make sovereign decisions and the United States respects this,” Barak said.
Despite the differences, Barak assured members of his minority Azmaut Party that Washington has “impressively extensive” plans to deal “with all aspects of the challenge” of denying Iran nuclear weapons.
Barak, co-author with Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel’s strategy of threatening pre-emptive strikes against Iran, praised the unprecedented level of U.S.-Israel security cooperation. Nevertheless, he repeated earlier declarations that “Israel alone will take the decisive decisions to secure its future.”