U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Israel on Thursday and meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after his planned trip to Ankara with Vice President Mike Pence to discuss Turkey's incursion into northeast Syria with its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The visit was reported on earlier Wednesday by Channel 13 News, which attributed its confirmation to Israeli officials who said Pompeo would brief Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on U.S. policy in Syria following President Donald Trump's decision to pull out American forces from the region.
It has since been confirmed by the State Department.
Earlier Wednesday, Pompeo said he and Pence aimed to stop Turkey from pressing on with its assaults in Syria when the U.S. delegation meets with Erdogan.
Pompeo, in an interview on Fox Business Network, said the U.S. delegation’s goal was to find a resolution to the situation in Syria, not break the U.S.-Turkey relationship.
“We have every expectation that we will meet with President Erdogan,” Pompeo told the network, adding that it was important that top officials from the Trump administration have direct, “face-to-face” talks.
“He needs to stop the incursion into Syria,” Pompeo said. “We need them to stand down. We need a ceasefire at which point we can begin to put this all back together again.”
Asked if he held Erdogan personally responsible for the situation in Syria, Pompeo said: “We have to remember this is a complex situation.”
The U.S. delegation is scheduled to depart Washington Wednesday evening, according to the White House.
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