(AFP) Visiting Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said Wednesday he raised the Jewish state’s concerns over Iran’s nuclear program with US officials and pledged his government’s support for the so-called “roadmap” to peace with the Palestinians.
“We talked about Iran, about Iraq, about the Palestinians, especially about the Abu Ala government that was approved today by the Palestinian parliament,” he said referring to Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qorei’s new cabinet.
Mofaz, speaking after meeting with Secretary of State Colin Powell, reiterated comments he made in an address earlier in the day in which he warned that Iran would reach a “point of no return” in its nuclear program within a year unless there were concerted efforts to stop it.
“Concentrated efforts are needed to delay, to stop or to prevent the Iranian nuclear program,” he said in the speech, according to a transcript of the event.
“I hope that you understand what I said,” Mofaz told reporters at the State Department.
An Israeli official said earlier that Mofaz had raised also the matter with US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on Tuesday as well as Israel’s concerns about Syria’s continued support of anti-Israel groups like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
With Powell, Mofaz said he reiterated Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s commitment to the “roadmap,” President George W. Bush’s desire to see Israel and an independent Palestine living side-by-side in peace.
And, he expressed hope that Qorei’s government would take action against Palestinian militant groups as Washington has repeatedly demanded.
“We are committed to President Bush’s vision and to the roadmap,” Mofaz said.
“We hope that the Abu Ala government will fulfill its commitment to the roadmap and will dismantle the terrorist infrastructures and allow us to move forward to the table of negotiations,” he added.