Outgoing Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak flew to Washington Sunday to meet with his new counterpart, Chuck Hagel, with talks to focus on Iran's nuclear drive, according to Barak's office, dpa reported.
In Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet Sunday his impression was that nothing was achieved in the latest international talks with Iran in Kazakhstan, and that Tehran was only "buying time" while pursuing its nuclear weapons ambitions.
Hanging over his defence chief's four-day visit are sweeping budget cuts that went into effect in the United States, with Israel concerned they will compromise the delivery of previously promised military aid.
The Yediot Ahronot daily reported at the weekend that some 750 million dollars earmarked for producing another Iron Dome short-range missile interception battery and other missile defence programmes were threatened by the cuts.
Barak is also scheduled to attend the annual pro-Israel lobby meeting led by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
Some members pro-Israeli lobbying groups in Washington had expressed concern over Hagel's nomination for defence chief because because of past remarks seen as critical of Israel. Hagal was sworn in last week.
Barak said ahead of January's elections that he will leave the defence ministry and Israeli political life once a new government is formed.