DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES —
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday defended his tour of Gulf Arab states and the Trump administration’s continued efforts to squeeze Iran, whilst a brand new U.S. administration led by Joe Biden prepares to enter the White Home in January.
Though Pompeo has not taken questions from U.S.-based reporters travelling with him over the previous 10 days, he sat down with the Saudi-owned broadcaster Al-Arabiya in Dubai for temporary televised remarks Sunday.
“Our insurance policies do not change. Our responsibility does not change. My tasks do not change,” he stated. “I nonetheless have an obligation — each hour, each minute — to defend the American individuals and to maintain them foremost in our efforts, and we’ll try this. We’ll try this to the final minute.”
In what was probably his remaining tour of the Persian Gulf as secretary of state, he touted the Trump administration’s Mideast technique that targeted on Iran as “the central menace contained in the area” and for a most stress marketing campaign that hampered Iran’s capability to assist militias in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria.
“It’s going to be our coverage till our time is full,” he stated, stopping wanting saying when he’d stop work as the highest U.S. diplomat.
President Donald Trump has refused to concede to Biden, regardless of the Trump marketing campaign’s futile efforts to dam the certification of votes in varied states.
The Trump administration is trying to ramp up stress on Iran earlier than Biden takes workplace as president. Biden has stated he desires to return to rapprochement with Iran. Analysts say Biden is anticipated to be extra prepared to have interaction the Iranians as a way to keep away from main escalation, though he is more likely to press Tehran on its missile program and never simply its nuclear program.
Trump is considered favourably by Gulf heavyweights Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for pulling the usout of a nuclear accord with Iran and reimposing sweeping sanctions which have drained Iran of important oil income.
Pompeo is scheduled to journey to Saudi Arabia late Sunday to fulfill Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman earlier than heading again to Washington. His tour additionally included stops in France, Turkey and Israel, together with an Israeli settlement within the occupied West Financial institution and a museum that honours Christian Zionists.
Trump was not too long ago talked again from shifting forward with a navy strike on Iran’s foremost nuclear web site by advisors who included Pompeo, in keeping with a New York Occasions report. When requested about this, a State Division official travelling with Pompeo informed reporters that “all choices are on the desk” and that the Trump administration “will proceed to pursue its insurance policies till it is not in workplace anymore.”
Pompeo began his Gulf tour within the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi early Saturday, assembly the emirate’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, who’s seen because the day-to-day ruler and the highly effective determine behind the nation’s main coverage choices.
The State Division stated they mentioned the progress of the UAE’s resolution to normalize ties with Israel — a transfer that was adopted by Bahrain and Sudan. Additionally they mentioned “safety co-operation and countering Iran’s malign affect within the area, in addition to that of China,” the U.S. assertion stated.
Pompeo “additionally underscored the significance of Gulf unity.”
The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt have largely balked at U.S. efforts to reconcile with Qatar, which they accuse of sponsoring terrorism and backing violent Islamist teams throughout the area. The quartet lower ties with Qatar in mid-2017 and have demanded the gas-rich Arab state shutter its flagship Al Jazeera information community amongst different calls for, which Qatar has rejected outright, together with the accusations.
Pompeo departed Abu Dhabi for Qatar on Saturday, though there are not any direct business flights because of the stalemate.
He had lunch with the ruler, Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and met with Qatar’s international minister. The State Division stated Pompeo mentioned regional points, and “the significance of a united Gulf to face in opposition to the Iranian regime’s destabilizing exercise, and the danger to the area offered by China.”
Qatar, nonetheless, has heat ties with Iran. The 2 nations additionally share a large underwater fuel subject within the Persian Gulf.
Whereas in Qatar, Pompeo moreover met with representatives of the Afghan authorities and Taliban, the place the warring sides are holding talks about the way forward for the nation. Regardless of a pointy rise in violence this 12 months, Washington plans to withdraw an estimated 2,500 troops earlier than the center of January, leaving about 2,000 troopers in Afghanistan.