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DUBAI: US secretary of state Mike Pompeo on Sunday defended his tour of Gulf Arab states and the Trump administration‘s continued efforts to squeeze Iran, at the same time as a brand new US administration led by Joe Biden prepares to enter the White Home in January.
Though Pompeo has not taken questions from US-based reporters touring with him over the previous 10 days, he sat down with the Saudi-owned broadcaster Al-Arabiya in Dubai for transient televised remarks on Sunday.
“Our insurance policies do not change. Our obligation would 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 doubtless his ultimate tour of the Persian Gulf as secretary of state, he touted the Trump administration’s Mideast technique that targeted on Iran as “the central risk contained in the area” and for a most stress marketing campaign that hampered Iran’s potential to help militias in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria.
“It’s going to be our coverage till our time is full,” he stated, stopping in need of saying when he’d stop work as the highest US 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 numerous states.
The Trump administration is making an attempt 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 predicted to be extra prepared to interact 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 favorably by Gulf heavyweights Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for pulling the US out 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 on Sunday to satisfy 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 honors Christian Zionists.
Trump was not too long ago talked again from shifting forward with a army strike on Iran’s principal nuclear web site by advisors who included Pompeo, in response to a New York Occasions report.
When requested about this, a state division official touring 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 on 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 selections.
The state division stated they mentioned the progress of the UAE’s determination to normalize ties with Israel — a transfer that was adopted by Bahrain and Sudan.
In addition they mentioned “safety cooperation and countering Iran’s malign affect within the area, in addition to that of China,” the US assertion stated.
Pompeo “additionally underscored the significance of Gulf unity.” The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt have largely balked at US efforts to reconcile with Qatar, which they accuse of sponsoring terrorism and backing violent Islamist teams throughout the area.
The quartet reduce 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 aren’t any direct business flights as a result of 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 towards the Iranian regime’s destabilizing exercise, and the chance to the area offered by China.”
Qatar, nonetheless, has heat ties with Iran. The 2 nations additionally share an enormous underwater fuel area 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.



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