Reference Number: No. 153-97 April 3, 1997

Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen and Israeli Minister of Defense
Yitzhak Mordechai discussed a broad range of issues related to the
U.S.-Israeli defense and security relationship, and developments in the
Middle East region in meetings held at the Pentagon today. Their
discussions reflected the close, long- standing, cooperative ties between the
two defense establishments. 

Secretary Cohen and Minister Mordechai reiterated mutual U.S.-Israeli
commitment to their strategic defense cooperation and agreed that bilateral
cooperation has provided beneficial know-how and experience to both
U.S. and Israeli armed forces. They also discussed efforts by opponents of
the peace process -- particularly threats posed by weapons of mass
destruction, surface-to-surface missiles and terrorism. Minister of Defense
Mordechai underscored the determination of the Government of Israel to
pursue further the Middle East Peace Process while ensuring Israel's

Secretary Cohen reaffirmed U.S. commitment to maintaining Israel's
qualitative edge to deter the enemies of peace and to help Israel develop
responses to threats posed by detractors. Secretary Cohen assured
Minister of Defense Mordechai that the United States was committed to
working with Israel to provide for adequate readiness. The two men also
discussed the recent successes of the joint U.S.-Israel Arrow ATBM
program and agreed to accelerate the program; agreed that the United
States and Israel will extend work to test the effectiveness of the tactical
high energy laser against the threat posed by Katyusha rockets; and
discussed closer cooperation and increased commitment between the two
defense establishments in the area of counter-terrorism. 

This was Minister Mordechai's first meeting on these issues with Secretary