In Jerusalem, Pompeo hopes other Arab nations will normalize ties with Israel

Pompeo: We’ll honor Israel’s military edge, but are reviewing arms sales to UAE

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he hopes other Arab countries will also establish diplomatic relations with Israel as he kicks off a Mideast tour on Monday to press the momentum of the Trump administration’s Arab-Israeli peace push.

Pompeo speaks at a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, the first stop on a multi-country tour of the region following the August 13 announcement of the historic agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, brokered by Washington, to establish diplomatic ties.

“I am hopeful that we will see other Arab nations join in this,” Pompeo says. “The opportunity for them to work alongside, to recognize the State of Israel and to work alongside them will not only increase Middle East stability, but it will improve the lives for the people of their own countries as well.”

On the UAE normalization deal, Pompeo says: “This is a really good step.”

He also addresses concerns in Israel that the UAE could receive advanced weaponry from Washington, including F-35, which could compromise Israel’s military advantage in the Middle East.

“The United States has a legal requirement with respect to [Israel’s] qualitative military edge we will continue to honor. But we have a 20-plus year security relationship with the United Arab Emirates as well,” Pompeo says.

He says the US will “review that process” to see that “we’re delivering them with the equipment that they need to secure and defend their own people from this same threat [Iran].”

“I’m confident that both of these objectives can be achieved,” he says of Israel’s edge and military sales to the UAE.

Netanyahu says he has “no doubt” the US will uphold Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region.

“There are two great things that have happened since our last meeting,” Netanyahu says, referring to the snapback sanctions against Iran and the UAE normalization deal.

“The Iran deal failed, just as we predicted,” says Netanyahu.

With AP

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