Shalom Calls for Swift End to China Arms Sale Crisis With U.S.

Shalom says cannot downplay tensions with Washington; will meet with U.S., Chinese foreign ministers.

Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom called Sunday for a swift resolution to the crisis between Israel and the United States over Israel's sale of military technology to China, saying that Israel had had no intention of harming American interests.

"We cannot downplay the crisis over Israel's military exports to China. I think this issue must be resolved soon," Shalom told Israel Radio, as he prepared to meet Sunday with both U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.

The Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported Sunday that the resolution of the crisis with the U.S. will cost Defense Ministry Director-General Amos Yaron his job.

Shalom acknowledged U.S. pressure on Israel to dismiss Defense Ministry top brass over the crisis, but declined to comment on the policy of another ministry.

"Amos Yaron is an excellent director-general, he's done a first-class job in the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] and the Defense Ministry," said Shalom.

"His dismissal is in the hands of the Defense Minister. It is not my place to intervene in the matters of other ministries."