US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will start a tour of the Arab region next Tuesday to visit eight Arab capitals to discuss hot issues related to the Syrian situation, the developments in Yemen, the fight against Iranian interference in the affairs of neighboring countries, Terrorism and its financing, and trade and investment relations.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait for a period of eight days, starting on January 8 to 15, the State Department said in a statement. This will be his first visit to the Middle East since President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of US troops from Syria, which is expected to dominate the talks with regional leaders as well as Iran. The tour coincides with another by US national security adviser John Bolton, including Israel and Turkey.
The US Secretary of State has the task of reassuring allies, partners and leaders of states about the US role in the region under the sudden US decisions, threats and risks.
The visit comes at a sensitive time after the Administration announced the withdrawal of US troops from Syria, and changes in the administration of the resignation of US Defense Secretary James Matisse, an opposition to the decision, and the resignation of Brett Magrick, US envoy to the International Alliance to Combat Terrorism and echo. US Vice President Mike Bens said in an interview with Fox News on Thursday evening that the US president was looking at several ways in Syria and perhaps Afghanistan, where there could be less US military commitment.
The decision to withdraw US forces from Syria has raised concerns about the prospect of rising Iranian and Russian influence in Syria, where Lebanese factions are fighting alongside Russian forces to support President Bashar al-Assad. Syria was the key issue at the Pentagon’s first meeting on Thursday with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton and Gen. Joe Danford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to discuss possibilities and options for the future of Syria. The ambiguity of the timetable for the withdrawal of US troops remains unclear.
According to State Department deputy spokesman Robert Bladini, the US Secretary of State will spend a week in the region from January 8 to 15, and will visit Amman, Cairo, Manama, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Riyadh, Muscat and Kuwait City.
The Jordanian capital Amman is the first of the US Secretary of State, where he will meet with King Abdullah II and Jordanian leaders to discuss areas of cooperation and partnership between the United States and Jordan and discuss the Syrian issue and the situation in Iraq. On the second stop in the Egyptian capital Cairo, he will meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Egyptian officials. The talks will focus on hot issues in the region, combating terrorism, especially in Sinai, Iranian intervention in the region and how to push peace efforts in Yemen and secure the Red Sea region. The talks will discuss economic cooperation between Washington and Cairo. The US Secretary of State will deliver a speech in Cairo on the US commitment to peace, prosperity and security in the Middle East.
In Manama, Pompeo will meet officials to discuss areas of bilateral cooperation and expand the strategic partnership between the United States and Bahrain. The talks focus on a broad address of counterterrorism, but much of the talks are aimed at helping Bahrain cope with the dangerous activities of the Iranian regime and Tehran’s attempts to interfere in Bahrain’s affairs. Pompeo discusses with his Bahraini counterpart how to work through the Middle East Strategic Alliance to counter Iran’s destabilizing activities, promoted as similar to NATO. The Trump administration seeks to build a security and political alliance among Arab states to confront Iran, including Gulf Arab states , In addition to Egypt and Jordan, in the so-called “Arab NATO”, or “the strategic alliance of the Middle East.”
In Riyadh, where the fourth US Secretary of State, Pompeo is seeking to strengthen US-Saudi relations, discusses the files and priorities of strengthening bilateral ties and regional hot spots, including Yemen, Iran and Syria. US-Saudi talks focus on how to support the efforts of UN Special Envoy Martin Griffith to reach an agreement Comprehensive political process between the Yemeni parties to end the conflict and achieve a brighter future for Yemen.
In Muscat, Pompeo will meet with Omani leaders to discuss ways to promote peace throughout the region, including Yemen, and build on the strong partnership between the United States and Oman.
The minister and Omani leaders will discuss the strategic alliance of the Middle East and the importance of the GCC countries in promoting peace, prosperity and security in the region.
Pompeo will conclude his tour of Kuwait City, where he will lead the US delegation to the third strategic dialogue between the United States and Kuwait, which will focus on many areas of new cooperation, including defense and cybersecurity and the strengthening of economic relations. The Secretary-General also meets with Kuwaiti leaders to discuss important regional issues, including the need for GCC unity and support for UN-led efforts to reach a comprehensive political agreement between the parties to end the conflict in Yemen.