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Macron walks back comments that he convinced Trump to stay in Syria

Macron outside the Elysee palace in Paris. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday clarified his claim during a TV interview Sunday that he convinced President Trump to keep troops in Syria "long-term." He now says that he "never said" the U.S. and France should maintain a military presence in Syria, AP reports, adding that he believes the U.S. has realized that its responsibility in Syria is to address humanitarian crises and the fight against ISIS.

The backdrop: Macron's Sunday comments spurred pushback from the White House which put out a statement saying, "The U.S. mission has not changed — the President has been clear that he wants U.S. forces to come home as quickly as possible."

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Pompeo plans to visit Jerusalem next week

Photo: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Mike Pompeo, who looks set to be confirmed as Secretary of State today, is expected to arrive in Jerusalem next week as part of his first trip abroad in his new post, Israeli officials told me.

Why it matters: Pompeo's decision to include Israel in his first trip abroad as Secretary of State is important because his predecessor Rex Tillerson visited Israel only once when he accompanied President Trump in his May 2017 visit. Tillerson never came to Israel on his own and had a very minor role in the U.S.-Israel relations during his year in office.

Shannon Vavra 4 hours ago
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It’s not just nukes: What the key players want from North Korea

Kim and Xi meet in Beijing. Photo: Xinhua/Ju Peng via Getty Images

With North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and South Korea’s Moon Jae-in sitting down for talks, and a summit between Kim and President Trump looming, denuclearization is at the top of mind in Washington — but it's not the only issue on the table.

Why it matters: Trump and Kim will have to balance a number of competing interests if they want to reach any sort of lasting accord.