Pompeo and Lebanon Best of Friends

Published March 24th, 2019 - 11:02 GMT
Lebanese Foreign Minister Gibran Bassil (R) shakes hands with visiting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo following a public statement in the Lebanese capital Beirut on March 22, 2019. (JIM YOUNG / POOL / AFP)
Lebanese Foreign Minister Gibran Bassil (R) shakes hands with visiting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo following a public statement in the Lebanese capital Beirut on March 22, 2019. (JIM YOUNG / POOL / AFP)

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo concluded a two-day visit to Lebanon Saturday, saying it was "very successful."

Pompeo tweeted on the evening of his departure, “Very successful visit to Beirut. Thank you to the Lebanese people for your world-famous hospitality. The U.S. remains committed to working with you to advance Lebanon’s stability, security, and prosperity.”

Pompeo and his wife arrived at Beirut's Rafik Hariri International Airport on Friday for the last leg of a regional tour that first brought him to Kuwait and then Israel. The tour was marked by a heavy emphasis from the U.S. secretary on curbing the influence in the region of Hezbollah and its backer, Iran.

On Friday, Pompeo met with Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Interior Minister Raya El Hassan, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, and President Michel Aoun. The flurry of bilateral talks centered on Hezbollah but also touched on U.S. support for the Lebanese Army and a dispute over Lebanon’s southern border with Israel.

The top U.S. diplomat also met with Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea and Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Joumblatt.

On his final day, Pompeo toured the town of Jbeil with his wife Suzan Pompeo where he visited churches in the area.

In the afternoon, Pompeo met with Beirut Greek Orthodox Archbishop Elias Audi at the headquarters of the Archdiocese in Achrafieh along with U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard, the state-run National News Agency reported.

The meeting lasted a little over an hour, after which Pompeo said, “It was a wonderful visit to a wonderful friend," noting that he had had a personal relationship with Audi for a long time.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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