President Reuven Rivlin met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo while he visited the country.At the beginning of the meeting, Rivlin told Pompeo that he is "a great friend of Israel and we value your strong support very much."
"The United States is Israel’s most important strategic ally and we deeply appreciate what you do for the security of Israel and the region," the president said. "Our countries are allies and I believe we see eye to eye on the challenges and the opportunities in our region.”Pompeo arrived on Wednesday following his visit to Kuwait. This is the second leg of a three-stop tour of the Middle East. He will head to Lebanon after his Israel visit. Rivlin asked Pompeo to send his warmest regards to US President Donald Trump and thanked him on behalf of the State of Israel for the important step of opening the American Embassy in Jerusalem.During the meeting, Pompeo thanked the president for his warm welcome, saying that he is sure that "you know that Israel has no better friend than the United States." "These are not just words, this is what we do on a daily basis for the benefit of us both," Pompeo continued. "The United States has a moral and political obligation to prevent hostile forces eroding regional stability, and that is what we will do.”The meeting focused on the various regional challenges, particularly on Israel’s northern border, on the build-up of Iranian forces in Syria and Lebanon and on Iranian support for Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. On Wednesday, Pompeo met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and also took part trilateral summit with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, who had also arrived for a trilateral summit with Netanyahu.
Pompeo: Israel has no better friend than US, March 21, 2019 (Reuters)
Pompeo said that his meetings in Jerusalem and participation in the trilateral summit are part of Washington’s efforts to build up regional alliances.With the US peace plan expected to be presented after the April 9 elections, Pompeo said that Israel has no better friend than the US, and that Israelis “can be confident that President Trump will maintain this close bond.”Herb Keinon and Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.