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An aide to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak met last week with the White House counsel to ask for the release of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, the White House confirmed Monday.

The aide, Moshe Kochnovsky, a senior official in the Israeli Defense Ministry, had not previously met Beth Nolan, the new White House chief counsel, and officials described the meeting as a courtesy call.

Jim Kennedy, spokesman for the counsel's office, said the meeting was held to allow Kochnovsky, who had accompanied Barak to Washington for peace talks with the Syrian foreign minister, to restate the case for Pollard's release.

The Clinton administration has been reviewing Israel's request that Pollard be released since October 1998, when the issue nearly derailed peace talks.

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