Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton, Peres Sign Anti-Terrorism Pact U.S., Israel Move toward Defense Alliance

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton, Peres Sign Anti-Terrorism Pact U.S., Israel Move toward Defense Alliance

Article excerpt

President Bill Clinton extended U.S. help to Israel in countering terrorism Tuesday and moved toward a defense alliance "to meet common threats in the years to come."

Prime Minister Shimon Peres said the anti-terrorism accord strengthened Israel's hand in pursuing peace with Syria and Lebanon. The peace process would die if terrorists succeeded, he said, because "terror would win the day."

Under the accord, the United States and Israel agreed to share information and analyses on guerrillas and their organizations; exchange information on transfers of funds to organizations involved in such attacks; and help each other on extradition and prosecution of suspects.

After signing that pact, Clinton and Peres had lunch, and an announcement emerged from it on their agreement to explore putting the two countries' longtime military relationship on a more formal basis.

"U.S.-Israeli strategic cooperation will grow in importance" in view of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East and other threats to regional peace, the White House said in a statement.

Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Israeli Foreign Minister Ehud Barak will head steering committees to carry out the agreement and also to deal with ways to make the $3 billion annual U.S. aid program to Israel more effective.

Clinton and Peres discussed Iran's nuclear program and "the threat it poses to that region," said a senior U.S. official.

Throughout his visit, which began Sunday in a meeting with Defense Se cretary William Perry, Peres has identified terrorism generally and Iran specifically as Israel's major concerns. By contrast, he has praised Yasser Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, as a fighter against terrorism and has said Israel wants to pursue peace accords with Lebanon and Syria.

Tuesday afternoon, Peres met with House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga. …

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