UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to eight capitals in the Middle East next week for talks focusing specifically on the files of Yemen, Syria and Iran, the State Department said on Friday.
Pompeo will start his 8-day visit to Amman, Cairo, Manama, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Riyadh, Muscat and finally Kuwait.
In his second stop in Cairo, he will deliver a speech on the United States’ commitment to “peace, prosperity, stability and security in the Middle East,” the Foreign Ministry said.
Although Pompeo’s tour is not the first in the region, it comes after a series of events that reshuffled the Middle East papers and influenced existing alliances.
His station in Riyadh will be particularly important after relations between the two countries have been strained over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in his consulate in Istanbul last year, especially since US intelligence suspects Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s role in the case despite the constant denial.
The State Department said Pompeo would look into developments in the investigation into Khashoggi’s murder and would hold talks on other regional issues.
Pompeo will discuss the Syrian dispute during his tour of Amman and Riyadh, the State Department said.
US President Donald Trump raised a surprise at Christmas when he announced the withdrawal of US forces deployed in Syria to fight the Islamic state. The decision was taken aback by the allies of the Americans, whom Washington is now trying to reassure.
The US secretary of state in Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Muscat and Kuwait also discussed the war in Yemen, where a cease-fire took place in the town of Hodeidah between Houthi rebels and pro-government forces following peace talks in Sweden.
The Trump administration is under pressure from the US Senate, although it is controlled by the Republicans, who voted in December on a draft resolution to stop US military support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.
The US secretary of state will also seek to cement regional alliances as part of US efforts to counter Iran’s influence.
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