US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is to visit eight Arab countries starting Tuesday including Jordan; Egypt; Bahrain; the UAE; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Oman, and Kuwait, according to a US department of state’s statement.
Pompeo is to begin his tour with Amman to discuss areas of bilateral cooperation, as well as ways to expand the strategic US-Jordan partnership, the statement noted.
“The Secretary will engage with Jordanian leaders on critical regional issues including Syria and Jordan’s future trade relations with Iraq,” the statement added.
In Cairo, Pompeo is to meet Egyptian leaders to address “critical regional issues, including Iran, Gaza, and will discuss counterterrorism, as well as economic, and energy cooperation.”
Furthermore, Pompeo also will deliver a speech on “the US commitment to peace, prosperity, stability, and security in the Middle East.”
While in Riyadh, the statement declared that Pompeo will meet Saudi leaders on “key bilateral and regional priorities, including Yemen, Iran, and Syria.” Moreover, Pompeo will “seek an update on the status of the investigation into the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”
Pompeo’s Mideast tour is planned from January 8-15. The trip came nearly three weeks after President Donald Trump abruptly announced that he will withdraw the 2,000 US troops from Syria. Trump then said the pull-out will be slow and will take four months.
The tour also came three months after the killing of Khashoggi in his country’s consulate in Turkey.
Earlier on Thursday, Saudi prosecution said it will seek the death penalty for five of 11 suspects in the murder of Khashoggi. This came during the first court hearing in the case. The prosecution did not reveal the identity of the five suspects.