Top U.S. General: We Have Many Joint Interests With Israel in Middle East

Chairman of U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff visits IDF headquarters, meets with Israeli officials; trip comes as U.S. is trying to coordinate steps with Israel in regard to Iran.

The Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, visited the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv on Friday and held meetings with Israeli officials, including President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz.

"I'm really pleased to be here," General Dempsey said at the start of his meeting with Barak. "We have many interests in common in the region in this very dynamic time and the more we can continue to engage each other, the better off we'll all be".

Gen. Dempsey's visit came as the U.S. is trying to coordinate steps and clarify Israel's intentions with regard to a possible attack on Iran's nuclear installations.

Peres said that the Iranian matter does not belong exclusively to the U.S. or Israel, but rather the entire international community.

"It is a privilege to be a U.S. ally," Peres said. "We appreciate you coming here. This is a very important time to show that we are joining hands to fight a phenomenon that endangers the entire world."

Gen. Dempsey arrived in Israel on Thursday on his first visit to the country. He had dinner with Lt. Gen. Gantz in Tel Aviv.

The IDF said the joint discussion with senior IDF officials would deal with cooperation between the two countries' armies and the joint security challenges they face.