Israel’s Barak in US for top-level talks

© AFP/File Michal Cizek

AFP/Activist Post

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak is to hold a series of top-level talks in Washington later on Wednesday which Israeli media say will centre on the unfolding crisis in Egypt.

Barak left Israel on Tuesday for a two-day visit to Washington and New York, and is expected to meet US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defence Secretary Robert Gates and National Security chief Tom Donilon, his office said.

He is to brief Congress on Wednesday and later meet with senior White House adviser Dennis Ross alongside a number of other top defence and intelligence officials, his office said, without saying what would be on the agenda.

Media reports said he will also meet UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New York.

The English-language Jerusalem Post and the Ynet news website both said Barak’s visit will focus on the Egyptian unrest and its impact on Israel and the strategic balance in the region.

With the Mubarak regime under threat of collapse, Israel fears a power vacuum could be exploited by Islamist elements determined to rescind the 1979 peace treaty between the two countries.

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