Pompeo visits Israel for talks on controversial US peace plan

05/13/2020 - 20:01 PM

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 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Israel Wednesday for talks on regional security and the country's plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

Pompeo was to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and incoming defense minister Benny Gantz, a day before a unity government agreed between the two men is due to be sworn in.

The talks were also expected to cover common arch-foe Iran after Israel is believed to have launched strikes against Iranian bases in neighboring Syria in recent weeks, and the Jewish state's trade relations with China.

Pompeo wore a red, white and blue protective face mask when he landed at Ben-Gurion airport near Tel Aviv for his first trip abroad in nearly two months amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

In what the US embassy in Jerusalem called a "cautionary" measure, Pompeo will not meet ambassador David Friedman, who was said by an embassy spokesman to be displaying "mild upper respiratory symptoms" although he had tested negative for the novel coronavirus.

The visit came as violence broke out in the occupied West Bank. Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian teenager during clashes in the West Bank on Wednesday, the Palestinian health ministry said.

The ministry announced that Zaid Qaysia, 15, was "killed by a live bullet in the head fired by the Israeli soldiers in Al-Fawar camp" near Hebron in the southern West Bank, with a further four Palestinians injured during clashes.

The Israeli army said it was checking the reports.—AFP





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