Top US diplomat Pompeo says he will travel to UAE, Saudi Arabia, Israel this week

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will make what may be one of his last overseas trips this week when he visits France, Turkey, Israel and three Gulf countries, he announced Tuesday.

“I’ll be heading out again on Friday of this week, this time to France, to Turkey, to Georgia, Israel, Qatar, the UAE, and to Saudi Arabia,” Pompeo said during a press briefing.

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Although he said there would be “many different things to cover,” the top US diplomat was “sure many [talks] will focus on this administration’s historic efforts to forge peace and cooperation throughout the Middle East.”

The Trump administration will be remembered - among other policies - its success in brokering peace deals between the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Israel. Pompeo and Trump administration officials have repeatedly said that several other Arab countries will follow suit.

Pompeo’s remarks came shortly after he announced a deal to sell more than $20 billion worth of advanced defense equipment to the UAE, including F-35 fighter jets.

He voiced confidence that such a deal would ensure the UAE’s security and to work “collectively to counter the threat from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Pompeo on his trip is expected to discuss raising further pressure on Iran in the remaining two months of the Trump administration, which in 2018 bolted from a multinational denuclearization accord with Tehran and imposed punishing unilateral sanctions.

Pompeo’s visit to the Middle East will be the second by a senior US official over the last week.

Special Representative for Iran Elliott Abrams is currently on travel to Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

A statement from the State Department said his trip was “for consultations on Iran.”

Asked for further details on the trip, a State Department official referred Al Arabiya to the statement, which only specified the line mentioned above.

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- With AFP