Panetta heads to Middle East

2012-07-29 16:38
Leon Panetta. (Jim Watson, AP)

Leon Panetta. (Jim Watson, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta began a five-day Middle East trip on Sunday to consult with the new Islamist leaders of Tunisia and Egypt and to meet with long-standing allies Israel and Jordan.

High on the agenda at each stop is expected to be the accelerating crisis in Syria, which potentially has grave implications for Israel. The Jewish state fears the unrest will spill over the border and that the long-quiet Golan Heights, captured from Syria in 1967, will become a new Islamist front against Israel.

Syria has strong ties to Iran, Israel's most fearsome enemy, and to Palestinian and Lebanese militants who have warred with Israel. Jordan's worries include a potential refugee crisis on its border.

Panetta's press secretary, George Little, said the trip is intended to affirm a US commitment to stability in the Middle East and North Africa at a time the US military is shifting more of its attention to Asia.

"That will require strengthening traditional alliances with countries like Israel and Jordan and building strong partnerships with new democratic governments," Little said last week in previewing the trip.

Panetta will be in Jerusalem just days after a visit by US Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, who has been highly critical of President Barack Obama's approach to Israel.

Panetta is expected to highlight US co-operation with Israel on building more effective missile defences, including the Iron Dome system that is designed to shoot down short-range rockets and artillery shells. That air defence system was developed in response to Israel's 2006 war with Hezbollah militants in Lebanon, who fired thousands of rockets, mostly short-range Katyushas, into northern Israel.

The US has provided $205m for the project, and on Friday, Obama announced the release of a further $70m.

In Tunis, Panetta plans to meet with his Tunisian counterpart as well as President Moncef Marzouki, leader of the small, secular Congress for the Republic party.

Panetta is scheduled to visit the North Africa American Cemetery near Tunis, resting place for 2 841 US military members killed in the World War II invasion and occupation of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia in 1942-43.

Among them is Army Air Corps pilot Foy Draper, who won a gold medal in the 1936 Summer Olympics as a member of the US 400m relay team. He was killed on a mission over Tunisia in January 1943.

- AP
Read more on:    leon panetta  |  israel  |  us  |  syria  |  middle east peace
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Obama votes early in Chicago

2014-10-20 22:00
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

Watch: 5 skills to improve your BMX riding

Learn some great skills that will help your riding on the road and on the track.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Tips on how to set your fitness goals
This all-terrain vehicle is badass!
The TRUTH about painkillers and exercise
WIN! Where were you when you last felt alive?

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong social and romantic overtone that plays its way into your day. It may get stronger later in the day when the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.