JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showcased his shut relationship with the Trump administration on Wednesday, internet hosting U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo three weeks earlier than an Israeli election.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake palms as they ship joint statements throughout their assembly in Jerusalem March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Jim Younger/Pool
Washington’s announcement that President Donald Trump, a preferred determine amongst Israelis, had invited Netanyahu to the White Home for talks and a dinner two weeks forward of the April 9 vote was additionally broadly seen in Israel as a lift for the right-wing Likud social gathering chief.
Following a go to to Kuwait, Pompeo met Netanyahu in Jerusalem, the place each males hailed U.S.-Israeli ties underneath Trump, a preferred determine amongst Israelis and a frontrunner whom the prime minister has featured on election billboards.
“We additionally know that our alliance lately has by no means been stronger,” Netanyahu stated in feedback to reporters, with Pompeo at his aspect.
Netanyahu is battling for his political survival in opposition to each a powerful challenger in centrist candidate Benny Gantz and in opposition to plans by Israel’s attorney-general to indict the prime minister, now in his fourth time period, in three corruption circumstances.
Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing and portrayed himself within the election race as a frontrunner with a wealth of worldwide diplomatic expertise that Gantz, a former armed forces chief and novice politician, can not match.
“I look ahead to my go to subsequent week to Washington, the place I’ll meet with President Trump, and I consider we will carry this relationship even stronger,” Netanyahu stated. “It’s getting stronger and stronger and stronger.”
Angering Palestinians and drawing worldwide concern, Trump broke with a long time of U.S. Center East coverage by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017 and shifting the American Embassy, which Pompeo will go to on Thursday, to the town final Might.
Pompeo, in his remarks, stated the Israeli individuals ought to trust that Trump – who is because of current a peace plan after the Israeli poll – will preserve a “shut bond” with Israel.
“I do know that you just and the president have an impressive working relationship,” Pompeo stated, addressing Netanyahu. “He despatched me right here to construct upon that and to symbolize him right here.”
Netanyahu stated he and Pompeo, at the beginning of their discussions, examined how you can “roll again Iranian aggression” within the area.
Strain on Iran, Netanyahu stated, have to be intensified now that the USA has reimposed sanctions on Tehran following Washington’s withdrawal from a 2015 cope with world powers to restrict the Iranian nuclear program.
Pompeo and Netanyahu later attended a gathering in Jerusalem with leaders from Cyprus and Greece on the development of a 2,000 km (1,243 mile) fuel pipeline linking huge japanese Mediterranean fuel sources to Europe by these international locations and Italy at a value of $7 billion.
Lebanon – Pompeo’s subsequent cease – has warned its Mediterranean neighbors that the deliberate EastMed pipeline should not be allowed to violate its maritime borders.
Reporting by Jeffrey Heller; Modifying by Hugh Lawson