Pompeo to cut Middle East visit short

Pompeo to cut Middle East visit short

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The State Department announced on Monday that Pompeo would cut his Middle East trip short and cancel a planned visit to Kuwait because he must return to the United States to attend a family funeral.

Pompeo will travel to Saudi Arabia after his daylong stay in Doha. "I assume he's speaking about those kinds of things, but you'd have to ask him", Pompeo said.

They also discussed USA plans to withdraw troops from Syria, which Pompeo told reporters would not be affected by President Donald Trump's threat to devastate Turkey economically if it attacks a Washington-backed Kurdish militia in Syria.

"And so the precise methodology which by we will achieve that - that security for both of those elements along that border - is something we're still working on".

Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said later Monday that they spoke by phone to discuss cooperation on the withdrawal of the approximately 2,000 USA troops from Syria.

With the Pentagon's narrative on Syria long presenting the U.S. presence as a big part of picking fights with Iran, the pullout has raised concerns among hawks, and has left Pompeo and others to explain the policy overseas.

Trump backed away from the economic threat in a later tweet.

The sister of Loujain al-Hathloul, one of several Saudi women's rights activists detained in the kingdom since last summer and accused of treason, pressed Pompeo to raise the issue with officials in Riyadh. He has also done it with comments throwing into question the us commitment to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and about the pace and progress of trade talks with China.

The destruction of the Islamic State (IS) militant group is a priority that Washington would do along with its allies, the US official noted.

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SHAPIRO: And there have also been things that distracted from his message, like the US troop withdrawal in Syria - lots of questions about that.

On Tuesday in Amman, Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi held out hope that U.S.

In the United Arab Emirates on Saturday, Pompeo called the withdrawal a "tactical change" that wouldn't massively affect USA efforts in the region.

Trump's tweet threat appeared to throw such confidence into doubt, though he and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan later Monday said they spoke by phone and agreed to work together on the US withdrawal from Syria.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo faces a tough balancing act on Monday as he presses Saudi Arabia's crown prince over critic Jamal Khashoggi's murder while shoring up strategic ties with Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz (R) meets with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Royal Court in Riyadh on January 14, 2019. He would not comment on USA intelligence suggesting the crown prince may have ordered the killing.

Pompeo's meeting with the crown prince lasted around 45 minutes.

The U.S. Embassy in Riyadh said that Pompeo and the crown prince had agreed on the need for a continued de-escalation in Yemen. You have conversations where you're not always exactly in the same place, and each tries to ensure that the other understands their position and why it is they're there, and then you do your best to move forward together. "I think they'd like to see that too".

Hours before Pompeo arrived in Riyadh, The New York Times published an op-ed column by the sister of prominent jailed Saudi activist, Loujain al-Hathloul, calling on the top United States diplomat to speak up about the detention of Saudi women's rights activists.

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