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Dempsey, Gantz Look to Countering Mideast Threats

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Israel’s chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz have met in Jerusalem to discuss countering long term threats to the region and ways to turn them into opportunities.

Speaking to reporters, Gantz said that based on their conversations, “we can definitely cooperate on the challenges and actually try and turn some of the threats that we face into opportunity.”

The Israeli military leader described cooperation with the U.S. military as being very important, very professional, very open and candid.

Dempsey described the meetings as a chance to look further into the future.

“I’m very excited to have that conversation with General Gantz and his team about our common future, common interests, the common security of our two people and to reassure each other on the strength and the enduring nature of our relationship,” the chairman said.

Gantz said the relationship between the two militaries will remain solid.

Dempsey stressed the relationship between the Israeli and U.S. military as being built on trust and candor. “The world is complicated enough without us speaking in parables to each other,” he said. “This is a time for great clarity and great candor and I can always count on our Israeli partners for that.”

Iran is constantly on the mind of Israeli military leaders. Both were asked by reporters if they had the capabilities needed to halt Iran’s nuclear program.

“Obviously we will keep our capabilities to ourself, but we do emphasize that the capability is very much there,” Gantz said.

Dempsey noted that President Barack Obama has made it clear that he will not allow Iran to gain nuclear weapons.

“My role as the senior military officer is to make sure that I provide him with the military options necessary to live up to that commitment, and we will,” he said.

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneAFPS)