Date :Monday, January 14th, 2019 | Time : 07:27 |ID: 83430 | Print

Pompeo’s ME tour: Washington is not abandoning the region

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SHAFAQNA | By Leila Yazdani : US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continue a nine-nation tour of the Middle East aimed at reassuring America’s partners that withdrawing troops from Syria does not mean Washington is abandoning the region and he brought the Trump administration’s anti-Iran message to Persian Gulf Arab states.

Pompeo traveled to Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, where he will call for increasing pressure on Iran and push for unity among Persian Gulf neighbors still embroiled in a festering dispute with Qatar. He’ll also be promoting a US-backed initiative to form what some have termed an “Arab NATO” that would bring the region together in a military alliance to counter threats from Iran.

Seeking to quell concern about the U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday described the American exit as a “tactical change” in military strategy that wouldn’t deter efforts to defeat ISIS or hurt U.S. interests in the region.

In Bahrain, the UAE and later Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait, Pompeo will also be making the case — as he did on previous stops in Jordan, Iraq and Egypt — that President Donald Trump’s decision to pull US troops from Syria is not a sign that Washington is retreating from the fight against the Islamic State group, nypost mentioned.

Pompeo’s remarks in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, come after the Pentagon announced Friday that “the process of our deliberate withdrawal” had begun, npr reported.

US secretary of state says America wants an Arab coalition capable of facing the different challenges in the region.

In Pompeo meeting with Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah, the US secretary of state called for enhanced cooperation between Washington and Manama in all fields, especially in the political, economic and defense sectors. “Bahrain is steadily moving forward on the right path to maintain its stability and the continuity of development and progress,” Pompeo said.

Protests continue in Bahrain amid Pompeo’s visit as part of anti-Iran ME tour. People in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain have held anti-regime protests, expressing anger at crackdown on pro-democracy activists, press TV reported.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Qatar on Sunday to push for an end to a diplomatic rift between Washington’s Persian Gulf allies on the latest leg of his Middle East tour.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that a rift between Qatar and its Arab Persian Gulf neighbours had gone on for too long, as the blockade against the Persian Gulf nation entered its 19th month, aljazeera mentioned.

Speaking at a news conference in the Qatari capital, Doha, on Sunday, Pompeo argued that the continuing crisis between Qatar and the four blockading nations – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain – benefited their adversaries.

“We are all more powerful when we are working together and disputes are limited. When we have a common challenge, disputes between countries with shared objectives are never helpful,” he said at joint news conference with Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani.

Pompeo signed an agreement with Qatari officials to expand the Al-Udeid Air Base, the largest US military base in the Middle East, alaraby told.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt – all US allies – cut ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of supporting “terrorist groups” and seeking closer ties to Saudi archrival Iran.

The now-2-year-old crisis between GCC members Saudi Arabia and UAE and Qatar has hampered US attempts to forge a unified front against Iran. Washington’s efforts to ease the dispute, begun by former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Mike Pompeo ‘s trip, along with visits by Bolton to Israel and Turkey, follow Trump’s sudden troop-withdrawal announcement last month, thenational told.

 

Read more from Shafaqna:

US Secretary of State makes an unannounced Iraq visit

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