Pompeo arrived in Lebanon on Friday amid strong regional condemnation of President Donald Trump's declaration that it's time the USA recognized Israel's sovereignty over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Mr Trump wrote on Twitter.
Last year, Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moved the U.S. Embassy there. Which, obviously, means that it was, and that signing a presidential decree on Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights during Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit in the oval office early next week is a gift better than cigars and champagne.
"I've been thinking about doing it for a long time", he told Fox Business, comparing the move to his decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
"There's a famous battle called the battle of the Valley of Tears and it was Israeli heroism at its most awesome, saving this great nation at a time of enormous challenge - the threat that came from east of the Golan, from Syria, a tank battle of epic and historic proportions of incredible Israeli bravery", Pompeo said following Trump's tweet.
Appearing to give an upbeat assessment of USA mediation efforts to resolve a maritime border dispute between Lebanon and Israel, Bassil said Beirut had an opportunity to recover its rights with a "political and diplomatic victory". Last week, in its annual human rights report, the State Department dropped the phrase "Israeli-occupied" from the Golan Heights section, instead calling it "Israeli-controlled".
Aoun echoed Bassil's statements, with his office saying that the president told Pompeo that the country's priority is to preserve national unity and peace adding that "Hezbollah is a Lebanese party that has a popular base representing one of the main (religious) sects in the country".
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Trump's decision could be, in a way, a boost for Assad as well as Iran, Hezbollah and the so-called axis of resistance, allowing them to change the conversation and switch focus from the Syrian civil war to Israel's occupation of the Golan.
Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin also condemned the preposterous claim.
Pompeo's visit to the site and the recognition of the Israeli ownership of the Golan Heights could further inflame tensions between Palestinians and Israelis.
"As a Christian, I certainly believe that's possible", said Mr Pompeo, a former Kansas senator and Central Intelligence Agency director. "They're going to fail again", Netanyahu said.
While previous secretaries of state have traditionally met with the Palestinians when visiting the region, Pompeo has no such talks planned.
Why is the area contentious?
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Egypt urged "respect (for) legitimate global resolutions and the United Nations Charter on the unacceptability of land appropriation by force".
From Israel, Pompeo's plane traveled through Cypriot airspace, as Lebanon, which is technically in a state of war with Israel, bans direct flights from Israel.
Israel, which has mounted numerous air strikes against what it has called Iran-backed targets in Syria, has demanded Russian Federation keep forces allied to Tehran away from the boundary. Those states, however, have long rejected Israel's annexation of the Golan.
The foreign ministry sent a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, urging him to reiterate the UN's rejection of Israeli claims over the Golan, SANA said.
Both sides covet the Golan's water resources and naturally fertile soil. While most of the Golan's Druze have chosen not to take Israeli citizenship, they hold Israeli residency status that gives them the right to travel and work freely.
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