US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have hailed strong ties between the two countries and vowed to counter Iranian “aggression” as the pair met in Jerusalem, weeks before Israel‘s election.
Pompeo’s visit on Wednesday and warm words on Netanyahu’s leadership were widely seen as a boost for the Likud chief at the height of a tight re-election campaign.
Visit seen as boost for Netanyahu ahead of April 9 electionhttps://t.co/XU5q8EmWtw
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) March 20, 2019
The Israeli prime minister, who is facing a tough election challenge from a popular former military chief and reeling from a series of corruption allegations, has repeatedly sought to focus attention on his foreign policy record and ties with US President Donald Trump.
Netanyahu will visit Washington next week, where is set to meet Trump twice.
Meeting Pompeo, Netanyahu calls for recognition of Israeli Golan Heights https://t.co/Xp4fNHVYye
— The Times of Israel (@TimesofIsrael) March 20, 2019
The Israeli people should have confidence that Trump, who is due to present a peace plan after the Israeli vote, will maintain a “close bond” with Israel, he said.
Addressing to Netanyahu, Pompeo said:
“I know that you and the president have an outstanding working relationship … He sent me here to build upon that and to represent him here.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a joint meeting this evening in Jerusalem. ???????? pic.twitter.com/3fQBDyoksN
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) March 20, 2019
For his part, Netanyahu thanked Pompeo for the Trump administration’s strong stance against Iran, which Israel regards as an existential threat.
Netanyahu is one of Trump’s strongest backers on the global stage. Since taking office, Trump has upended US policy and taken a series of steps welcomed by Israel, most notably by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the US embassy there from Tel Aviv.
(AJE, PC, Social Media)