1 January 1999

DM MORDECHAI MEETS WITH ROMANIAN DM BABIUC

(Communicated by Defense Ministry Spokesman)

Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai today (Tuesday), 19.1.99, met with Romanian Defense Minister Victor Babiuc. During the meeting, DM Mordechai briefed his Romanian counterpart on the situation in the Middle East and Israel’s wish to resume negotiations with Syria and to solve the problem of Lebanon. He emphasized that Israel is seeking a military agreement which will enable it to withdraw from Lebanon, but that so far, Syria is not interested. Mordechai then described the peaceful relations with Egypt and Jordan as "strategic peace agreements" which must be fostered and strengthened.

DM Mordechai expressed willingness to strengthen defense relations between Israel and Romania to the benefit of both countries.

On behalf of his government, DM Babiuc expressed Romania’s support for Israel and Romania’s willingness to strengthen its ties with Israel, especially in the defense sphere.

The two ministers agreed on efforts to examine ways to strengthen defense cooperation in several spheres:

1. Strategic dialogue, headed (on the Israeli side) by the defense minister’s senior adviser, David Ivri.

2. Cooperation in defense and industrial matters and in procurement, headed (on the Israeli side) by Defense Ministry Director-General Ilan Biran.

3. Military ties, to be handled (on the Israeli side) by the IDF.