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Israel's Yaalon Tells U.S. He Did Not Mean To Offend

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon
Israel's defense minister has told the United States that he did not mean to cause offense when he criticized Washington as being weak when it comes to its stance on Iran's disputed nuclear program.

In a speech in Tel Aviv on March 17, Moshe Yaalon said Israel cannot depend on the United States to lead any action against Iran's nuclear program and can only rely on itself.

He also pointed to the Ukraine crisis as an example of Washington's "weakness."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to protest Yaalon's remarks.

A statement from Yaalon's office late on March 19 said he had called his U.S. counterpart, Chuck Hagel, and told him he hadn't intended to damage relations.

In January, Yaalon described Kerry's quest for Israeli-Palestinian peace as "messianic."

Yaalon later apologized.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters