US Gen. David Petraeus reiterated Tuesday that "Israel is - has been, is and will be a - an important strategic ally of the United States."
In an address to Washington based think tank the "Woodrow Wilson Center," Petraeus, commander of the US militarys Central Command, said reports claiming that he was seeking to relocate both Israel and Palestinian Territories from the European Command to his Central Command were not correct".
Petraeus caused a stir in Israel last month when he charged that the Arab-Israeli conflict hurts Americas ability to advance its interests in the Middle East, fomenting anti-American sentiment and limiting Americas strategic partnerships with Arab governments.
He also telephoned IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi to reassure Israel that comments attributed to him regarding supposed Israeli intransigence were spun out of context.
Petraeus referred to the above episodes in his address Wednesday, saying, "I think rightly, seized on was the inclusion of the comment about insignificant progress or insufficient progress toward a comprehensive Mideast peace process".
"It did not say anything about settlements, didn't say anything about putting our soldiers at risk or something like that," he stressed.
Petraeus: Israel vital strategic ally