Sharon heads to Washington to discuss Iraq
Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is to depart late Monday for Washington, where President George W. Bush is predicted to ask him for "maximum restraint" if Israel is attacked by Iraq in the event of an American strike on Saddam Hussein's regime.
According to Haaretz, Bush will refrain from pressing Sharon for a commitment not to react under any circumstances, Israeli and American sources said Sunday. In response, the prime minister is likely to stick to his formula that "Israel knows how to defend itself" if attacked by Iraq.
In preparatory talks between Israeli and U.S. officials on the eve of Sharon's departure for his talks with Bush, American officials noted that the president would never say to the prime minister "don't respond under any circumstances," the daily reported.
Bush and other top U.S. officials will show their Israeli counterparts a presentation on how the U.S. intends to deal with any Iraqi threat to Israel, including the possibility of Iraqi missiles being launched from the Western Desert at Israel.
Sharon will meet Tuesday with National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice, and will hold talks with Bush on Wednesday. He is also likely to meet Vice-President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. (Albawaba.com)
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