Pompeo headed to Israel in first trip outside US amid pandemic

Pompeo headed to Israel in first trip outside US amid pandemic
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Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Air Force general officially becomes first African American service chief | Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure | State Department's special envoy for Iran is departing the Trump administration State Department offers M reward for foreign election interference information State Department's special envoy for Iran is departing the Trump administration MORE will travel to Israel next week, the State Department announced Friday, marking the first international travel of a senior U.S. official amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The visit comes following Israel’s formation of a government after three national elections, as the first two were inconclusive.

Pompeo will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE and Speaker of Israel’s Parliament Benny Gantz. The two Israeli leaders recently agreed on a power-sharing agreement in order to form a government.

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Pompeo will discuss U.S. and Israeli efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic as well as regional security issues, including Iran’s actions in the region, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

“The United States and Israel will face threats to the security and prosperity of our peoples together. In challenging times, we stand by our friends, and our friends stand by us,” Ortagus said.

The trip comes as the U.S. is lobbying allied nations to renew an arms embargo on Iran set to expire in October under the terms of the Iran nuclear deal, which President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Ohio governor tests negative in second coronavirus test MORE withdrew the U.S. from in 2018.

Israel opposed the signing of the Iran nuclear deal at its inception and supported the U.S. withdrawal from the deal.