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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Pompeo to travel to Qatar as part of ‘Mideast peace push’

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Pompeo is due to travel to Qatar to meet with Amir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, during his last Middle East tour as US Secretary of State.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to 7 nations in “historic efforts to forge peace and cooperation throughout the Middle East,” the top official said.

Pompeo will land in Qatar on his second to last leg of the Middle East Tour, due to take place between November 12 to 23, according to the US embassy.

The outgoing US official is expected to meet Qatar’s Amir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani to discuss “bilateral and regional issues, including the importance of Gulf unity,” the State Department said in a statement.

In September, Pompeo landed in the Qatari capital to take part in historic peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban where he maintained it was up to the two warring sides to decide “how to move their country forward”.

Read also: Qatar dismisses normalisation claims, says its position remains the same

Though likely to be his last trip to the Middle East as US Secretary of State, Pompeo has followed US President Donald Trump in dismissing changes to the White House leadership following the election results.

On Tuesday, Pompeo sparked condemnation after suggesting “there will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration”, in comments clearly suggesting the Trump administration’s rejection of  President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

In later comments, he said “on 20 January, we’ll have a transition, whether it’s to a Trump administration – a second Trump administration as I spoke about today – or to an administration led by former Vice President Biden.”

The US official’s tour to the Middle East seems to be a last ditch attempt to meet with allies in the region, all of whom have already congratulated Joe Biden for his victory at the 2020 US presidential elections.

Pompeo will also visit Turkey, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, according to the US embassy.

Read also: Pompeo lands in Doha for ‘historic’ Afghanistan peace talks

In Israel, Pompeo is expected to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the controversial Abraham Accords as well as joint efforts to address Iran.

Pompeo will also stop off in the United Arab Emirates to meet with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed to discuss “security cooperation and regional issues,” a statement by the embassy said.

This comes just months after the UAE normalised relations with Israel, along with Bahrain and Sudan, despite global outrage and Palestinian opposition to the move.

On the last leg of his tour, Pompeo will visit Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh.


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