Undersecretary Burns was in Israel for the signing of the MOU between Israel and the US.

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

In their meeting today (Thursday, 16 August), Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni and US Undersecretary of State R. Nicholas Burns discussed security issues of mutual interest. FM Livni commended the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Israel and the USA, and thanked Undersecretary Burns for contributing to the strength and the power of Israel.

The Memorandum of Understanding regulates the 30 billion dollar military aid package to Israel over the forthcoming decade (subject to Congressional approval), which will help Israel cope with the strategic challenges it faces.

FM Livni stated that the signing of the Memorandum is a central component in the fortification of the unwritten pact between the two countries and powerfully expresses the fact that Israel is a strategic partner of the United States. FM Livni expressed her appreciation to President Bush, Secretary Rice and to the teams on both sides who worked for the past months on the formulation of the agreement.

During the meeting, FM Livni and Undersecretary Burns discussed issues concerning the preservation of Israel’s quality advantage. They also discussed the strategic aspects of the region, the Iranian nuclear threat to the region and the necessity for the international community to continue its efforts to obstruct this threat. The issue of the urgency of the handling of this matter in the Security Council, including increasing sanctions on Iran, was stressed. FM Livni pointed out the problem regarding the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, and stressed the importance of preventing the smuggling of armaments across the border.