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Hagel’s First Middle East Trip to Seal Historic Arms Deal

April 20, 2013
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Source: Military News

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s first official trip to the Middle East will underscore U.S. security relationships there and finalize agreements on an unprecedented release of military capabilities to Israel and other partner countries, senior defense officials said today.

Tomorrow, the secretary begins a six-day trip that includes meetings with counterparts and officials in Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.  

“I would characterize this trip as not just a series of courtesy calls, but as a series of security calls on important allies and partners,” a senior defense official, speaking on background, told Pentagon reporters today.

Hagel’s goal, the official added, “is to deepen and strengthen his relationships with all of these countries.”

“I would note that in the case of Israel, he has been to Israel six times in the past and looks forward to expressing once again in that country his personal commitment to our alliance and to Israel’s security,” the official added.

The range of security issues to be discussed will all country officials includes the situations in Syria, Iran, the Sinai Peninsula and others, he said, along with the historic arms deal that involves Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

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