Pompeo Meeting With Netanyahu in Israel After Erdogan Meeting in Turkey

Meeting takes place after Pompeo, U.S. Vice President Pence broker cease-fire between Turkey and Kurdish forces in northeast Syria

Netanyahu and Pompeo meet in Jerusalem, October 18, 2019.
David Azagury / U.S. Embassy Jerusalem

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Israel on Friday to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after visiting Ankara with Vice President Mike Pence to broker a cease-fire in Turkey's incursion into northeast Syria with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Pompeo will brief Netanyahu on U.S. policy in Syria. Netanyahu also mentioned Naama Issachar, the 25-year-old Israeli woman convicted of smuggling 9.6 grams of hashish and sentenced to seven and a half years behind bars in Russia.

Speaking at the end of their meeting, Netanyahu said, "Mike, we've had important discussions about strengthening our alliance, the region the various challenges we face together."

Netanyahu thanked Pompeo and U.S. President Donald Trump for their continued support of Israel. "The Middle East is a sea of troubles and turbulence but if there's one thing that stands out it’s the durability, stability and strength of the American Israel alliance," he said.

Pompeo said, "We talked about all the ways we can push back against the threat, not only to Israel, but to the region and world from the Islamic republic of Iran."

The prime minister invited Pompeo to visit his sukkah, "Mike, as you're visiting here on the holiday of Sukkot, we sit in a sukkah," the prime minister said. "We always remember when we didn't have a permanent home, so let me show you a sukkah and then you can be on your way."

The U.S. and Turkey agreed Thursday to a five-day cease-fire in the Turks' attacks on Kurdish fighters in northern Syria to allow the Kurds to withdraw to roughly 20 miles away from the Turkish border. The arrangement appeared to be a significant embrace of Turkey's position in the weeklong conflict.

After more than four hours of negotiations with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said the purpose of his high-level mission was to end the bloodshed caused by Turkey's invasion of Syria. He remained silent on whether the agreement amounted to a second abandonment of America's former Kurdish allies in the fight against the Islamic State.

Turkish troops and Turkish-backed Syrian fighters launched their offensive against Kurdish forces in northern Syria a week ago, two days after Trump suddenly announced he was withdrawing the U.S. from the area.