Barak Tells Gates: Hezbollah and Syria Must Not Gain Weapons Supremacy Over Israel

Defense Minister meets U.S. counterpart at the Pentagon to discuss Washington's continuing support of Israel's defense efforts.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the Pentagon on Monday to discuss an array of security issues pertaining to the United States' support of Israel.

Barak told Gates that Israel was particularly concerned by the increasing armament of the Lebanon-based militant group and its ally, Syria, with advanced weapons that would adversely affect Israel's qualitative advantage and security.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates welcomes Defense Minister Ehud Barak

Their talks also focused on the contentious Iranian nuclear program and the imminent international report following an investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The two discussed continuing cooperation to build up Israel's active defense against missiles and rockets. They also resumed talks regarding the development of the Namer armored vehicle, and Barak advised his American counterpart to see the U.S. ground army equipped with one as well.

The defense minister also assured Gates that Israel was intent on seeing the peace process resume with the Palestinians, but emphasized that Jerusalem would not relent on its security demands.

The two were meeting as in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened talks with U.S. envoy George Mitchell, who was in the region to push forward the peace process in the wake of collapsed direct peace talks.