Pompeo: Israel an 'incredibly important partner'

New US Secretary of State meets with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at IDF headquarters as US, Israel plan strategy to deal with Iran.

David Rosenberg ,

Netanyahu and Pompeo
Netanyahu and Pompeo
Haim Zach/GPO

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with President Donald Trump’s new Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, Sunday afternoon, just days after the US Senate confirmed Pompeo as former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s replacement.

Pompeo, who previously served as Trump’s CIA chief, was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday with 56 votes for and 42 against.

The Secretary of State set off for the Middle East this weekend to meet with US allies in the region, including Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Jordan.

A critic of the Iran nuclear deal, Pompeo was chosen by Trump to replace Tillerson in part due to his views on the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran. While the president has stated that he will either “fix or nix” the deal, Tillerson supported maintaining the agreement, a position backed by France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel.

Pompeo met with Netanyahu at IDF headquarters in the Kiryah in Tel Aviv on Sunday, following talks with Saudi leaders focused on the Iranian threat to the US and allies in the region.

Netanyahu congratulated Pompeo on taking his new position during a photo opportunity with Pompeo and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman ahead of the meeting.

"We are very proud of the fact that this is your first visit as Secretary of State." US Secretary of State Pompeo replied, "You’re an incredibly important partner, [and] occupy a special place in my heart too."

Earlier on Sunday, Pompeo met with Saudi King Salman, following a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman on Saturday.

"(Iran) supports proxy militias and terrorist groups. It is an arms dealer to the Huthi rebels in Yemen and Iran conducts cyber-hacking campaigns. And it supports the murderous Assad regime," Pompeo said at a joint press conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.

"Unlike the prior administration we will not neglect the vast scope of Iran's terrorism."



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