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From Israel, Pompeo arrives in Beirut for two-day meetings

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife Susan wave before boarding their airplane to Beirut at Ben Gurion airport near Lod, Israel, Friday, March 22, 2019. (Jim Young/Pool Photo via AP)

BEIRUT — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has arrived in Lebanon, the last leg of a Mideast tour that took him to Kuwait and Israel.

Pompeo is scheduled to meet with a host of Lebanese officials, including allies of the Iran-backed Hezbollah during the two-day visit, his first as secretary of state.

Pompeo hopes to step up pressure on the Shiite militant group, but could face resistance even from America’s local allies, who fear that pushing too hard could spark a backlash and endanger the tiny country’s fragile peace.

Pompeo’s plane arrived on Friday travelling through the Cypriot airspace, as Lebanon, which is technically in a state of war with Israel, bans direct flights from Israel.

The Associated Press