US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who arrived on Wednesday, arrived in Baghdad on an unannounced visit, Speaker of the House of Representatives Mohammad Halboussi and other Iraqi officials. Pompeo is the third US official to visit Iraq within days, after US President Donald Trump and US Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
The news agency “AFP” a statement issued by the Iraqi Council of Representatives that “the Speaker of the House of Representatives Mohammed Halbusi received US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in the presence of the Committee on Foreign Relations parliamentary.”
The visit comes less than two weeks after the visit of US President Donald Trump to Iraq, during which he lost US troops without meeting any officials.
The US Secretary of State began on Tuesday from Jordan his tour of the region, and in his bag Iran’s hot file as well as the war against the dossier, terrorism and files of Syria and others.
In a press conference with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi, Pompeo stressed that the United States is redoubling its diplomatic and commercial efforts to “exert real pressure on Iran.”
The US minister stressed his country’s continued work with Jordan to “confront Iran’s malicious activities in the region and its attempts to circumvent sanctions.”
He pointed out that “Iranian expansion is a threat to the region and our withdrawal from Syria will not affect our confrontation with Iran, or to the da’ash, or to anyone who threatens regional security.”
Pompeo’s trip to the region comes amid confusion over conflicting statements by US President Donald Trump and senior US officials about the withdrawal of US troops from Syria, where Iran backs President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s civil war.
“The withdrawal from Syria will not reduce US efforts to marginalize Iran,” said Pompeo in Jordan, adding that “the White House has re-imposed sanctions on Iran for violating the nuclear agreement defended by former President Barack Obama.”
Pompeo’s visit is the third high-level visit by a US official to Iraq last month. Trump’s recent visit angered Iraqi politicians when Trump last month paid an unscheduled visit to the US base of Ain al-Assad in western Iraq without meeting Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi.
“The United States can use its bases in Iraq as a platform for continuing operations against state organization,” Trump said in a December 26 visit to Iraq.
Earlier in December, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry urged Iraq to “cut its dependence on energy on Iran and open up the energy sector to US investment.” He was in Baghdad with a trade delegation organized by the American Chamber of Commerce.
Pompeo is expected to arrive in Cairo later Wednesday.