The United States organized meetings between Israeli and Egyptian army officers in an attempt to foster a dialogue between the defense establishments of the two countries and reduce tensions and mutual anxieties, reported Haaretz newspaper.
The paper quoted officials as saying that five officers from each country took part in a meeting held two weeks ago at a US military base in Virginia.
"For the first time, the Egyptians also sent a senior officer, bearing the rank of brigadier general, who does not belong to the liaison unit of the Egyptian Army that maintains ongoing working relations with the IDF," one official told the paper.
In the Virginia meeting, the officers from the two countries took part in simulation exercises based on various scenarios for the Middle East, under the guidance of their American hosts.
According to the official, the paper added that the meeting was more successful than its predecessors, which produced mainly frustration.
"We hope this marks the beginning of a new road, but there is still a long way to go," an official said.
The idea for the meetings was advanced by US Defense Secretary William Cohen in a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, said the paper.
Another ardent supporter of the project is the US ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk, who tried to implement it when he served as the assistant secretary of state for the Middle East, according to the paper - Albawaba.com
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