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The Cable

Word from SecDef Gates’ Israel meetings

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates had "frank talks" with his Israeli counterparts at meetings in Jerusalem today, a person familiar with the discussions told Foreign Policy. "Even as [Gates] noted that engagement was not open-ended (no new news there)," the person familiar with the discussions said, "he continued to push for Israeli patience to let ...

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates had "frank talks" with his Israeli counterparts at meetings in Jerusalem today, a person familiar with the discussions told Foreign Policy.

"Even as [Gates] noted that engagement was not open-ended (no new news there)," the person familiar with the discussions said, "he continued to push for Israeli patience to let our strategy play out, reiterating the September and December deadlines for an Iranian response and progress, respectively. He mentioned the possibility of a ‘non-incremental’ increase in sanctions if Iran rejects our offer for talks, as well as continued robust security cooperation in the Gulf and elsewhere to make it clear that their pursuit of nukes will not improve Iran’s security."

"Mr. Gates, speaking with [Israeli Defense Minister Ehud] Barak after meetings at the King David Hotel, said that President Obama hoped to hear Iran’s response to the offer of talks at the time of the United Nations General Assembly in late September," the New York Times reports. "Nonetheless, he said, ‘we’re very mindful of the possibility that the Iranians would simply try to run out the clock.’"

It’s Gates’s first trip to Israel since 2007. He and his delegation have headed onto Jordan.

U.S. Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell was in Israel for meetings Sunday, before being summoned for a quick trip to Cairo Sunday night by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak is expected to come to Washington August 17 for talks at the White House. National Security Advisor James L.  Jones leads a multi-agency delegation of around 10 U.S. officials to Israel Wednesday for talks with their Israeli counterparts about Iran.

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