Hezbollah and Iran discussed at meeting between Netanyahu and Pompeo


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo light Hanukkah candles before the start of their meeting in Brussels on Dec. 3, 2018. (GPO)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the threat from Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iranian aggression during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Brussels.

Netanyahu left for the meeting on Monday, hours after it was announced, and returned the same evening.

Pompeo “emphasized the United States’ commitment to Israel’s security and absolute right to self-defense and to fighting anti-Israeli bias at the United Nations,” State Department Heather Nauert said in a statement. “The Secretary reiterated U.S. support for warming ties and increased dialogue between Israel and its neighbors in the Middle East and Africa, including Oman and Chad. Secretary Pompeo noted the strength of the U.S.-Israel alliance and our multifaceted cooperation. He reiterated America’s resolve in confronting the totality of the Iranian regime’s threats through maximum pressure.”

Pompeo was in Brussels for a NATO meeting of foreign ministers. The meeting with Netanyahu was originally scheduled be held on Wednesday, but had to be moved up so that Pompeo could return to the United States for the funeral of former president George W. Bush.

Prior to departing for Brussels, Netanyahu had said in a statement: “I will discuss with Mike Pompeo a series of regional developments as well as the steps we are taking together to block the aggression of Iran and its proxies in the north.”

At the start of the meeting, Netanyahu lit Hanukkah candles for the second night of the holiday with Pompeo,

Netanyahu said in front of reporters: “I want to thank you for everything that you’re doing, for your strong statements on the latest violation by Iran on the ballistic missiles. I look forward to discussing with you how we can together curb Iran’s aggression in the region, in Syria, in Iraq, in Lebanon and elsewhere and to continue our efforts to achieve peace and security for everyone.”

Netanyahu reportedly told Pompeo that Israel would take military action against Hezbollah if it was not contained.

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