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US' Pompeo: 'We have developed relations between Israel and Arab countries'

January 5, 2019 at 12:08 pm

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo [Gage Skidmore/Flickr]

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the US has developed relations between Israel and Arab countries, against the threat of Iran.

Speaking in an interview with US channel NewsMax TV on Thursday, Pompeo said that “we [the US] made connections between [Israel and Arab countries] to form a coalition in the Middle East that will preserve US security”.

He added: “The former US administration had decided to adopt the first supporter of terrorism in the Middle East, Iran, as its partner in the region, and we completely changed it. We know that this poses a real threat to America and the whole world.” When asked about potential “peace” in the Middle East, Pompeo said:

We have created conditions in the Middle East where these countries work together on many fronts. I have seen the president’s [Donald Trump’s] declaration of withdrawal from Syria. We can still, together with our partners, confront the threat of [Daesh] in the region effectively. We have not changed our policy, but we will do so in a smarter and better way, and we can do so thanks to the coalitions built by President Trump.

Read: Senior Israel official in ‘shock’ over Trump’s Iran policy

Pompeo’s comments came just hours after a statement by Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, in which he claimed Sudan had received advice to “normalise with Israel” so as to bring reform to the country. “We are advised to normalise relations with Israel to resolve our problems, but we say that livelihood is in God’s hands and not by anyone,” Al-Bashir stated in a meeting with Sufi leaders, without further explaining who gave him this advice.

Pompeo confirmed US President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw US troops from Syria, while referring to the American plan to continue confronting Iran. He stressed that Trump’s decision on the withdrawal of troops from Syria is clear, adding that “our [US] soldiers will get out of there”. Pompeo avoided giving a specific timetable for withdrawal, saying only: “I do not want our enemies to know when we will leave exactly.”

During the interview, Pompeo addressed a message to Turkey, where he stressed “the need to ensure that Kurds are not killed by the Turks and to protect religious minorities in Syria. All these things are still part of the vision set by the United States”.

Asked whether the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was a “trustworthy partner,” Pompeo said that there are many issues that should be worked out with Turkey. Pompeo pointed out that Turkey is an ally in NATO and provides great support on matters of interest to the United States, but that there are still some issues of concern. Pompeo added that US national security adviser John Bolton and Washington’s envoy to Syria, James Jeffrey, will visit Turkey next week.

Read: Syrian Kurds seek Damascus deal regardless of US moves