Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S., Israel Progress On Terrorism Pact

TEL AVIV -- The United States and Israel said Friday they made substantial progress on a counter-terrorism cooperation pact that is expected to be signed when Prime Minister Shimon Peres visits Washington next month.

U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher, at a news conference with Peres, also said he would issue invitations this weekend to 29 countries to attend a meeting March 28 in Washington that will attempt to build on Wednesday's "Summit of Peacemakers" in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt.

Christopher said the United States and Israel would make a new effort in the coming weeks to persuade Europe and Asia to toughen their policies toward Iran, which the Americans and Israelis consider a main sponsor of political violence.

"The United States is convinced the time has come for our friends and allies in Asia and Europe to reconsider their stance toward Iran," he said, referring to the many countries who insist on a dialogue with Iran, in opposition to the U.S. strategy of isolating Tehran.

U.S. President Bill Clinton, visiting Israel to show solidarity against a wave of suicide bombings in Israel, announced Thursday that Washington would provide an additional $100 million to fund an expanded anti-terrorism program, including equipment and training.

Christopher said U.S. and Israeli experts working through the night had made "very substantial progress" on an anti-terrorism pact that would be signed when Peres visits Washington in April.

During a 22-hour visit Thursday, Clinton committed $100 million for an anti-terrorism pact with Israel to "track down and root out" Islamic militants, whose suicide bombings in recent weeks threaten Israeli security and the future of peacemaking with Arab states.

Soon after the fourth suicide bombing by the radical Islamic group Hamas last week, Clinton authorized the transfer of some $22 million in sophisticated bomb-detection machines and training to Israel.

On Thursday he expanded that with the new package including more advanced bomb detection scanners, X-ray systems for people and material, robotics for handling suspect packages, and advanced thermal and radar sensors for detecting bombs.

This includes $50 million in 1996 and $50 million in 1997.

Experts teams "are close to finalizing" the equipment to be provided under the first $50 million installment and most of it will be ready for shipment to Israel in the next few weeks, Christopher said.

He stressed the need for Congress first to approve the taking the funds from other Pentagon accounts. Some opposition has surfaced in Washington.

The United States already gives Israel $3 billion in aid annually.

Negotiations over the counter-terrorism accord were covering how much more intelligence the United States can share with Israel, including satellite photographs, information picked up by monitoring of communications and intelligence gathered on the ground, U.S. officials said.

But neither Christopher nor Deutch would go into details.