The United States and Israel have signed an accord under which Washington will provide its closest Mideast ally with $30 billion in defense aid over the next decade - a 25 percent increase over previous years.
U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns and Israeli Foreign Minister Director-General Aharon Abramovitz signed the agreement at a ceremony in Jerusalem Thursday.
Burns says the aid package is part of U.S. pledge to help Israel maintain a military advantage over its regional adversaries.
Last month, the Bush administration said it would offer weapons packages worth $20 billion to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states over the next 10 years. Egypt will get $13 billion in defense assistance.
The aid packages are designed to reassure moderate Sunni Arab states of continued U.S. commitment to the region, as well as strengthening them in the face of the growing influence of Shi'ite Iran.
The aid deals must still be approved by Congress.
... Payvand News - 8/16/07 ... --