US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Thursday with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo, part of a tour to address concerns of American allies in the Middle East.
The visit by Washington’s top diplomat comes amid confusion in the region over a surprise plan by President Donald Trump’s administration to pull US troops out of Syria.
Pompeo arrived in Cairo late Wednesday following stops in Jordan and Iraq, in his longest trip since taking the post last year.
He met with Sisi in Ittihadeya Palace and is scheduled to hold talks with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry before giving a keynote speech Thursday at the American University in Cairo outlining US Middle East policy.
Trump and his Egyptian counterpart Sisi have lavished one another with praise on several occasions.
From Cairo, Pompeo is scheduled to head to Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo on January 10, 2019.
Pompeo Slams Obama’s Mideast Policies “The age of self-inflicted American shame is over, and so are the policies that produced so much needless suffering,” Pompeo said.
The U.S. State Department had billed the speech at the American University in Cairo as the most complete remarks yet on U.S. priorities in the Mideast by Pompeo, who is on an eight-day tour of the region. But it was most notable for the determined attacks on the previous U.S. administration.
Although the Saudi kingdom is a longtime U.S. ally and a key partner in Trump administration policies, the top U.S. diplomat barely mentioned it. Pompeo referred to Saudi Arabia only in passing when talking about the campaigns against “ISIS” and when discussing where he would travel next in his Middle East tour.
Pompeo did mention the diminished U.S. presence in the kingdom, but he framed it as indicative of how the United States doesn’t intend to permanently occupy countries. “We once had tens of thousands of U.S. military personnel in Saudi Arabia,” he said. “Now that number is a tiny fraction.” He also briefly praised new diplomatic links the kingdom was developing with Iraq.