Joint Chiefs Chairman in Israel for Security Talks

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey arrived in Israel Monday for briefings on regional security issues.

Topping the agenda are the Iranian nuclear program, Syria's ongoing civil war, and the buildup of Islamist terror groups in the Egyptian Sinai.

Dempsey will meet with Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and other senior security personnel to discuss "military cooperation and shared security challenges," the IDF Spokesman's Office said in a statement released on Monday.

He will also meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, and President Shimon Peres.

Afterward, Dempsey will travel to Jordan to meet with U.S. troops stationed there, including an F-16 squadron monitoring the violence in Syria.

The United States has steadily increased its military presence in Jordan in the event violence heats up along its border with Syria.

Dempsey's visit follows U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh's four-day stay in Israel last week, hosted by IAF Commander Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel.

During his stay, Welsh met with Lt.-Gen. Gantz and visited several IAF bases, getting a bird's eye view of Israel's borders from the air.

"It was wonderful to visit this beautiful country again," Welsh said. "It was a great honor to meet with former air force commanders and hear their stories about patriotism and leadership."

"I leave knowing that we have a strong partner in my friend Amir Eshel," he continued. "Our cooperation will be a critical part of the future. Together our future is bright."

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