Candidate for top US diplomatic post to visit Israel

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Mike Pompeo, who is expected to soon be confirmed as U.S. secretary of state, is scheduled to visit Israel next week in what would be his first trip abroad as Washington’s top diplomat, Israeli media reported on Thursday.

According to Israel’s Channel 10, Pompeo — a former CIA director — will arrive in the country next week for his first visit overseas after his expected appointment.

While in Israel, Pompeo is expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a number of top Israeli officials.

Pompeo’s planned visit, however, has yet to be formally announced by the U.S. administration.

According to Channel 10, the previous secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, only visited Israel once — in May — accompanied by U.S. President Donald Trump.

It remains unclear whether Pompeo also plans to meet the Palestinian leadership, which suspended all diplomatic contact with the U.S. administration following the latter’s decision late last year to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

In February 2017, Pompeo, while serving as CIA director, met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

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