WASHINGTON: US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin assured Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz of the United States’ continued total support in a telephone conversation, Defense Department spokesperson John Kirby said.
“Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke this afternoon with Israeli Minister of Defense Benjamin ‘Benny’ Gantz,” Kirby said in a readout of the conversation on Friday. “Secretary Austin reaffirmed the United States’ ironclad support for Israel’s security.”
Austin told Gantz that he shared the Biden administration’s support for building on the ceasefire to establish enduring security, Kirby said. Both parties agreed to remain in close coordination on shared defense priorities, the readout added.
Israel and Palestine’s Gaza Strip were locked in a bitter conflict for 11 days that concluded with an Egypt-brokered ceasefire on May 20
This week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken had a two-day Middle East visit aimed at solidifying the ceasefire and raising money for reconstruction. One of the US goals is to ensure that any assistance be kept out of the hands of Hamas in an effort to contribute to reducing tensions in the region.