In an exclusive interview with Al Arabiya, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlined Washington’s three main priorities in the Middle East which include countering Iran, destroying ISIS and ensuring regional stability.
The US Secretary of State had harsh words for the Islamic Republic, saying that “countering Iran, the threat from the world’s largest state sponsor of terror – the Islamic Republic of Iran, is something President Trump has identified as one of his top priorities. We are determined to do that, we will do it with our partners in the Middle East. This is a mission for the world. It’s incredibly important and we are determined to do it,” he said.
Pompeo flew in to Abu Dhabi from Manama and has already visited Amman, Cairo, Baghdad and the Iraqi Kurdish regional capital of Erbil, as part of his ongoing tour in the Middle East which Washington believes is “critical” to confronting Iran and extremist groups.
EXCLUSIVE- Pompeo: The threat from the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, the Islamic Republic of Iran, is something that President Trump has identified as one of his top priorities. This is a mission for the world. It is incredibly important and we are determined to do it. pic.twitter.com/4HowKaj9R4— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) January 12, 2019
EXCLUSIVE - Pompeo: A real democracy doesn’t support Hezbollah. A real democracy doesn’t support Shia militias in Iraq that are reducing Iraqi independence. A real democracy wouldn’t be active in Yemen in the way that they are by underwriting the Houthis today. pic.twitter.com/a8zZddaqmm— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) January 12, 2019
The secretary was also asked to comment on the US-Saudi relationship in the aftermath of the grisly murder of Jamal Khashoggi last year in Turkey.
“President Trump made clear immediately in the aftermath of this murder that the relationship is broader and deeper and bigger than that,” Pompeo said. “We absolutely have expectations when things go wrong, when heinous acts have occurred, people need to be held accountable for this, but this relationship predated that and the relationship must go forward. We have to have a good relation with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and this administration intends to do so”.
EXCLUSIVE: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saudi ties: This mutually beneficial relationship to create stability in the Mideast & to assist the US in executing things to keep the American people safe is very important. I’m convinced the kingdom will be a great ally in doing so. pic.twitter.com/Nk65bbMgQq— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) January 12, 2019
The US Secretary of State is also planning on jointly hosting a ministerial summit with Poland in Warsaw that aims at “promoting a future of peace and security in the Middle East” on February 13-14.
He’s expected to visit the other four members of the Gulf Cooperation Council - Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia.