16:22 GMT +321 September 2019
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    US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter

    US Determined to Keep Israel Top Mideast Power - Defense Secretary

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    The United States remains totally committed to Israel’s defense and to providing it with the most advanced military systems in the Middle East, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said in a press conference in Tel Aviv.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Carter was visiting Israel on the first stage of a three nation trip around the region that will also bring him to Saudi Arabia and Jordan, two other long-time US allies.

    “We will maintain our ironclad commitment to Israel's qualitative military edge — to — so that Israel can defend itself, by itself, from any threat,” Carter told the press conference on Monday, according to a transcript released on Monday by the US Department of Defense.

    He held the press conference with Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon after holding talks with him.

    “We will keep providing advanced capabilities,” the US Defense Secretary noted, adding that next year, Israel will be the United States’ first and only friend in the region flying the F-35 stealth fighter.

    Carter also pledged that the US Defense Department would maintain “our robust force posture that lets us rapidly surge an overwhelming array of forces from the United States and all over the world to help defend Israel if needed.”

    Carter was visiting Israel the same day that the UN Security Council approved the P5+1 nuclear agreement with Iran that US Secretary of State John Kerry and the representatives of Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom plus Germany reached with Tehran last week.

    The Israeli government strongly opposed the agreement.

    Carter, however, insisted that he and President Barack Obama both remained profoundly committed to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military superiority over all potential threats in the Middle East region.

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    Ashton Carter, Iran, United States, Israel
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