US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans first visit to Lebanon

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he is planning to visit Lebanon sometime in the next week for the first time since the country formed a government.

Pompeo said he will travel to Lebanon, Israel and then to Kuwait but did not set out exact dates.

“You see all of this. This is American diplomacy at work. When I go, all the people from the embassy will have already begun to do the work to convince these countries to work alongside America,” Pompeo told a group of people at the Future Farmers of America event in rural Iowa.

Pompeo’s expected visit to Lebanon will be his first since taking office last April.

Ahead of Pompeo’s planned visit, David Satterfield, acting US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, arrived in Beirut on Monday evening on an unannounced visit for talks with senior Lebanese officials and political party leaders.

Local Lebanese media outlets reported that Satterfield met with Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil.

According to the Associated Press, Satterfield said the new government in Lebanon needs to make tough decisions as it tackles widespread corruption and a crumbling economy, in addition to ongoing security issues.

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