TEL AVIV – Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman met with his U.S. counterpart James Mattis for the first time on Friday at the Munich Security Conference in Germany to discuss issues related to Middle East security.
“The three main problems we must handle are Iran, Iran and Iran,” Lieberman stated after the meeting with Secretary of Defense Mattis. “We must build a genuine and effective coalition to deal with the terrorism [Iran] spreads around the world, the development of missiles it is engaged in and its nuclear arms race.”
Lieberman continued, “North Korea and Iran are the two ends of the axis of evil in which Hezbollah and the Assad regime are also integrated, and Iran is the common thread.”
According to Hebrew-language reports, Lieberman and Mattis plan to “maintain open dialogue and cooperation to strengthen Israel’s security and protect America’s interests in the region, as true allies.”
The two agreed to meet again soon.
Lieberman on Sunday took part in a panel at the Munich confab entitled, “Old Crises, New Middle East?”
The defense chiefs’ meeting occurred two days after President Donald Trump met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House.
According to the White House, Iran was also on top of the agenda for the two leaders.
“The president and prime minister agreed on the need to counter the threats posed by Iran and its proxies, in addition to countering the so-called ‘Islamic State’ and other radical Islamic terrorist groups, so as to create a more secure Middle East to the benefit of all countries. The two leaders agreed that the Iran nuclear deal is a terrible deal for the United States, Israel and the world. The president assured the prime minister that Iran must not, and will not, obtain nuclear weapons capability. The two leaders also discussed the crisis in Syria and other regional issues,” a White House statement read.
“The United States and Israel stand together facing a range of challenges, and the two leaders pledged to deepen cooperation to bring greater peace and stability to the Middle East and to protect the United States, Israel and other nations from the global threat of terrorism,” the statement concluded.