Netanyahu to meet US secretary of state in Brussels

Netanyahu to meet US secretary of state in Brussels


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was to hold talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Brussels on Monday, a day after police recommended the premier’s indictment in a third graft case.

Netanyahu’s office said the meeting had been set last week, but provided few other details. US President Donald Trump’s top diplomat was to be in Brussels for a NATO meeting of foreign ministers on Tuesday.

“I will discuss with Mike Pompeo a series of regional developments as well as the steps we are taking together to block the aggression of Iran and its proxies in the north,” Netanyahu said before departing, referring to Syria and Lebanon.

“Of course we will also discuss other issues.” They were to meet on Monday evening, with Netanyahu accompanied by the head of Israeli spy agency Mossad, the head of his national security council and his military secretary.

Trump has pledged unwavering support for Israel and has pushed ahead with controversial policies such as moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. Israel and the United States have also worked closely on a range of issues, particularly related to Iran.

Both have warned of Iran’s presence in Syria, which neighbours Israel. Netanyahu has pledged to stop arch-foe Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria and to keep it from transferring advanced weapons to its ally Hezbollah in Lebanon.

There has been increased attention in Israel in recent days over Israeli officials’ concerns regarding Iranian activity in Lebanon. The Israeli premier has also pursued ties with Arab Gulf nations that have no official diplomatic relations with his country and the United States has backed him in those efforts.

Netanyahu’s trip comes a day after police recommended indicting him and his wife Sara for bribery and other offences, the third such move against him in recent months.

The attorney general must now decide whether to indict Netanyahu, who rejects the accusations against him in all three cases.

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