Mike Pompeo to meet Benjamin Netanyahu in Brazil for first time since US' Syria pull-out: Israel worried about vulnerability to Iran, Russia

Washington: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week in Brazil, as Washington prepares to withdraw troops from Syria, the State Department said on Thursday.

File image of US secretary of state Mike Pompeo. Reuters

File image of US secretary of state Mike Pompeo. Reuters

Pompeo and Netanyahu will meet in Brasilia where both will be attending the New Year's Day inauguration of president-elect Jair Bolsonaro, a right-wing firebrand who has vowed to move Brazil closer to Israel and US president Donald Trump.

Netanyahu has met frequently with Pompeo and enjoys a warm relationship with Trump, happy about his withdrawal from a denuclearisation deal with Iran and his landmark shift of the US embassy to Jerusalem. However, Netanyahu has for the first time found himself at odds with Trump after the US leader's sudden announcement last week that he will bring home all 2,000 American troops from war-ravaged Syria, where Israel saw Washington's presence as a bulwark against Iran and counterweight to the influence of Russia.

Israel has been measured in its public response, saying it respects Trump's decision, which led to the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria that it says are targeting Iranian forces and their Hezbollah allies. Trump has said that US troops were solely focused on fighting the Islamic State jihadist group, which he has declared to be "largely defeated."

Pompeo will also meet in Brazil with Peruvian president Martin Vizcarra and afterwards fly to Cartagena to hold talks with Colombian president Ivan Duque.

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Updated Date: Dec 28, 2018 09:28:28 IST

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