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US Secretary Pompeo discusses Libya ceasefire, countering Iran with UAE officials

Published: Updated:

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and UAE officials discussed the conflict in Libya and countering Iran during a meeting in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Pompeo met with UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and National Security Advisor Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The officials discussed “regional and bilateral issues of concern, including mutual support for de-escalation and a lasting ceasefire in Libya, Gulf unity, and countering Iran’s malign influence in the region,” the US State Department said in a statement.

Ceasefire in Libya

Since the overthrow of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has been embroiled in conflict despite efforts to transition the country to a stable democratic system.

The two dominant parties competing for power are the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Fayez al-Sarraj, based in Tripoli, and the Libyan National Army (LNA) headed by General Khalifa Haftar, based in the eastern city of Benghazi.

Fayez al-Sarraj, left, and General Khalifa Haftar. (File photo: AFP)
Fayez al-Sarraj, left, and General Khalifa Haftar. (File photo: AFP)

The rival governments announced in separate statements on Friday that they would cease all hostilities and organize nationwide elections soon.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), of which the UAE is a member, welcomed the ceasefire announcement.

Iran

The United Arab Emirates recently summoned Iran’s charge d’affaires in Abu Dhabi in response to a speech by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that the foreign ministry described as “unacceptable.”

Two days after the UAE announced it would normalize relations with Israel, Rouhani said the UAE “better be mindful.”

“They have committed a huge mistake, a treacherous act,” Rouhani said.

Iran President Hassan Rouhani speaks during press conference in Tehran Iran October 14 2019. (AFP)
Iran President Hassan Rouhani speaks during press conference in Tehran Iran October 14 2019. (AFP)

The UAE foreign ministry said the speech was “unacceptable, inflammatory, and carrying serious repercussions for the security and stability of the Arabian Gulf region,” state news agency WAM reported.

Abraham Accord

Secretary Pompeo also congratulated the UAE officials on “the monumental achievement” of the country’s historic agreement with Israel known as the Abraham Accord.

Pompeo landed in the UAE’s capital city Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, the latest stop on his Middle East tour that was prompted by the announcement of the peace deal on August 13.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) greeting Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok (R) in Khartoum. (AFP)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) greeting Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok (R) in Khartoum. (AFP)

On Tuesday Pompeo discussed the UAE-Israel agreement with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan over the phone, according to state news agency WAM.

They discussed “the prospects for strengthening [the agreement] in a way that serves the foundations of peace and stability in the region,” WAM reported.

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