WASHINGTON - U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin arrived to Israel on Thursday for his first official visit to the country as part of a Middle East tour that is focused on drumming up support in the battle against terror funding. Mnuchin met Thursday afternoon with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after spending Wednesday in Saudi Arabia, where he had met with senior officials from the Kingdom, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
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At his meeting with Netanyahu, the two gave a short statement, in which Mnuchin reiterated the strong partnership between the two nations saying, "We don't have a better partner in the region than Israel." Netanyahu jokingly corrected him and said - "in the world," to which Mnuchin replied - "you're probably right."
Footage released by the Israeli Prime Minister's Office showed that the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, was also present at the meeting.
Netanyahu reciprocated and said that Israel has no better friend than the U.S., and thanked the Trump administration for its support and cooperation with Israel.
Mnuchin, who is Jewish, is also expected to meet with senior officials from Qatar and United Arab Emirates (UAE) as part of his trip to the region. The Treasury Department said that his trip continues the effort, started by President Trump during his visit to the region in May, to enlist the support and commitment of Middle Eastern countries to a financial and legal battle against the funding of terror groups.
On Wednesday Vice President Mike Pence announced that he will visit Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Egypt in December at the request of President Donald Trump, as part of the Trump administration's peace efforts.