Mike Pompeo to visit Israel and UAE to discuss new diplomatic ties

By Reuters in Jerusalem

Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, will visit Israel on Monday and the United Arab Emirates a day later to discuss the countries’ normalisation deal, according to two sources briefed on his itinerary.

Also on Pompeo’s agenda will be the security challenges posed by Iran and China in the region, said the sources, who declined to be identified by name or nationality.

Israel and the UAE announced this month that they would normalise diplomatic ties and forge a broad new relationship.

Under the accord, which Donald Trump helped broker, Israel agreed to suspend its planned annexation of areas of the occupied West Bank. The deal also firms up opposition to regional power Iran, which the UAE, Israel and the United States view as the main threat in the conflict-riven Middle East.

Last week a telephone service between the UAE and Israel began working as the countries opened diplomatic ties. After news of the historic deal was announced, Turkey threatened to suspend its diplomatic relations with the UAE and recall its envoy, with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the country’s president, saying: “The move against Palestine is not a step that can be stomached.”

While the UAE claims to have won a concession for the Palestinians as part of the deal, Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been clear that he remains committed to annexation. Palestinian leaders slammed the UAE deal as a betrayal that damaged their cause.

The Guardian has approached Israel’s prime minister’s office and foreign ministry, as well as the US embassy in Jerusalem, for comment.