Pompeo reaffirms committment to Trump plan on Israel visit






Washington - By Eliyahu Kamisher, - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday reaffirmed a commitment to President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan at the outset of a visit to Israel, his first foreign trip since March.



Ahead of talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Wednesday, Pompeo told a press conference he was there to talk about Trump’s "vision of peace."
Of the plan published by the Trump administration in January, Pompeo said "there remains work yet to do and we need to make progress on that."
Netanyahu meanwhile thanked Pompeo for visiting in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, a gesture he called "a testament to the strength of our alliance."
The Israeli Prime Minister then accused Iran of continuing aggressive efforts in the region despite the pandemic and thanked the Trump administration for taking a "strong position" against what he described as "the masters of Iranian terror."
Pompeo also said talks would focus on measures to battle the coronavirus, as well as the role Israeli technology and medical expertise could play.
Israel is a "great partner," which "shared information," Pompeo said, "unlike some other countries that try and obfuscate and hide," he added in veiled comments referring to China.
Israeli television reported on Wednesday that Pompeo would seek to push Israel to severely restrict economic ties with China.
During the visit, Pompeo also planned to meet Netanyahu's new coalition partner and former rival Benny Gantz, who heads the centrist Blue and White alliance.
Israel's new government, which includes a rotation of Netanyahu and Gantz as prime minister, is scheduled to be sworn in on Thursday.
A meeting between Pompeo and Israel’s incoming Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi of Blue and White is also planned.
William Walters, a top medical official at the State Department, said the trip to Israel is "highly choreographed" and "very, very safe."
David Friedman, the US ambassador to Israel, will not accompany Pompeo due to "mild upper-respiratory symptoms," a US Embassy spokesperson said.
"He was tested for Covid-19 and the result was negative. Nevertheless, in an abundance of caution, State Department medical staff have recommended that Ambassador Friedman not be in proximity with Secretary Pompeo," the spokesperson said.
Pompeo last left the US to visit Afghanistan on Marc

Wednesday, May 13th 2020
By Eliyahu Kamisher,
           


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