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Israel defence minister to visit Pentagon

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon gives a thumbs-up to US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on April 23, 2013
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon gives a thumbs-up as US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel boards his plane at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv on April 23, 2013. The two will meet again in Washington.

Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon leaves on Wednesday for talks with US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, his first visit to Washington since taking office in March, the ministry said.

"During the visit the two men are expected to discuss current security, diplomatic and regional issues," it said.

It added that he would also meet US politicians, Jewish community leaders and members of the influential pro-Israel lobbying group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Hagel visited Israel in April.

Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot has said the focus of the talks would be military and intelligence cooperation on events in Syria and Israel's concerns over the Russian sale to Damascus of advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missiles.

From Washington, Yaalon is to fly on to Paris to inaugurate the Israeli pavilion at the annual air show and for meetings with Prime Minister Laurent Fabius and Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

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