U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, left, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, address the media during a joint statement prior to a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, May 31, 2019.
U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, left, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, address the media during a joint statement prior to a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, May 31, 2019.

In his first visit to Germany as U.S. secretary of state, Mike Pompeo met Friday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin for talks that focused on Iran and China.

Merkel said ahead of the meeting that the United States continues to be Germany's most important partner outside of Europe, but on the issue of Iran, she made clear that Germany stands by the Iran nuclear deal despite the U.S. withdrawal from the agreement. 

 

WATCH: Pompeo Seeks Common Ground on Iran, Huawei in Europe

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Pompeo highlighted common ground during his visit to Berlin, saying that Washington would not stand in the way of INSTEX — a system Europeans are developing to protect companies from American sanctions if they deal with Iran — as long as the focus is on providing humanitarian and other permitted goods.

INSTEX is not yet up and running, but Europeans hope to have it functioning by this summer.

Since the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement, the United States has been at odds with Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, which are trying to keep the deal alive.

Merkel said that despite the differences between the United States and Germany the two sides agree that Iran must be prevented from taking "aggressive actions" and said the international community must ensure that Iran does not have nuclear weapons.

General view of the German headquarters of China's
General view of the German headquarters of China's telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies in Duesseldorf, Germany, Feb. 18, 2019.

During his visit to Berlin, Pompeo also cautioned Germany against engaging with China's telecommunications giant Huawei to help develop 5G networks.

"We've been pretty clear about how we view the risks connected to Huawei and 5G infrastructure. The internet of the future must have Western values embedded within it," the secretary of state said after meeting with his German counterpart Heiko Maas.

Pompeo's stop in Berlin makes up for a visit that he abruptly called off in early May to fly to Iraq. It is the first of his four-nation European trip, during which he also will visit Switzerland and the Netherlands before joining President Donald Trump on his state visit to Britain.