The Israel Defense Forces announced on Monday that Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of the U.S. Naval Forces under Central Command, the Fifth Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces, completed his most recent visit to Israel.

“[It] was the third visit of the commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command to Israel in the last six months, reflecting the close cooperation between the U.S. and Israeli navies,” stated the IDF. “The visit demonstrates the importance of the strategic and operational connection between the fleets.”

During the trip, Cooper met with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, as well as the commander of the Israeli Navy, Vice Adm. David Saar Salama.

The Israeli military reported that “the commanders talked about promoting international cooperation and strengthening ties in order to continue protecting and monitoring international waters, vital to international trade and regional stability in the Middle East.”

Cooper also met with the IDF’s head of the strategic planning and cooperation directorate (J5), Maj. Gen. Tal Kelman. “The visit strengthened the dialogue between the fleets regarding joint activities,” stated the IDF, adding that Cooper “was briefed on the challenges in the southern maritime arena and the economic waters including Israel’s offshore assets by the commander of the Southern Maritime Arena, Capt. Eli Soholitzky.”

In a statement, Kochavi said “maritime cooperation between the IDF and the U.S. military is another example of the strength of the strategic relationship between the two militaries. The joint work with the U.S. military will continue to yield many achievements for Israel and our security. Together, we will continue to face the challenges ahead in order to maintain stability in the Middle East.”

Cooper said the “visit reflects our strong commitment to the enduring strategic relationship fostered over decades. Our bilateral maritime partnership is built on trust and shared interests in maintaining security and stability in the surrounding seas. I believe exciting opportunities lie ahead as we strengthen and expand our naval cooperation throughout the region.”

JNS

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