JERUSALEM (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in Israel on Monday, on the first leg of his Mideast press the momentum of the Trump administration’s Arab-Israeli peace push.
Pompeo was scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and discuss the recently announced historic agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, brokered by Washington, to establish diplomatic ties. The two were expected to also discuss Iran and China.
The agreement delivered a key foreign policy victory to President Donald Trump as he seeks reelection and reflected a changing Middle East in which shared concerns about archenemy Iran have largely overtaken traditional Arab support for the Palestinians.
Earlier this month, the U.S., Israel and the UAE announced the deal to establish full diplomatic relations, which also requires Israel to freeze its plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank sought by the Palestinians as part of their future state.
Later in the trip, Pompeo was to meet with Netanyahu's partner in the government and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, as well as Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.
After his Israel stop Pompeo was also slated to visit Sudan, the UAE and Bahrain, with additional stops in the Gulf possible, the State Department had said. In Sudan, the secretary of state said he would push for “deepening the Sudan-Israel relationship.”