Israel’s Barak heads to US amid warming ties

Israel’s Barak heads to US amid warming ties

JERUSALEM - Agence France-Presse
Israel’s Barak heads to US amid warming ties

Defense Minister Barak makes surprise visit to US as tension rise at Israel’s border with Lebanon and Syria. AFP photo

Israel’s outgoing Defense Minister Ehud Barak left yesterday for Washington on his second such trip in less than a month, the defense ministry said.
“Ehud Barak flew this morning for a working meeting in the U.S. during which he will meet with senior administration officials and with intelligence and defense chiefs,” his office said, without saying who he would meet or what would be discussed.

The visit, likely to be one of his last before the minister steps down from politics, comes just days after the White House said that U.S. President Barack Obama would be making his first-ever trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories as president. It also comes at a time of heightened tension along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon and war-torn Syria.
Also expected in Washington this week is Yitzhak Molcho, the personal envoy of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who will prepare for Obama’s visit.

Israel’s National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror is also expected to travel to Washington next week in connection with the visit, the Israeli media said.