US: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Riyadh on Middle East tour

Visit comes less than a week after Pompeo was sworn in as secretary of state and 'aims to solidify ties with US allies'.

    Pompeo was greeted in Riyadh on Saturday by his Saudi counterpart al-Jubeir [Saudi Press Agency]
    Pompeo was greeted in Riyadh on Saturday by his Saudi counterpart al-Jubeir [Saudi Press Agency]

    Mike Pompeo, the new US secretary of state, has arrived in Saudi Arabia as part of a three-day Middle East tour that also includes Jordan and Israel.

    Pompeo was greeted in Riyadh on Saturday by his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir and was expected to meet Khalid bin Salman, the kingdom's ambassador to the US, as well as attend a working dinner hosted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

    US state department officials told Reuters news agency the tour, which will include stops in Jerusalem and Amman, is aimed at solidifying ties with key US allies in the region.

    It is expected that Pompeo's meetings with the regional leaders will focus on the Iran nuclear deal, which President Donald Trump wants revised.

    Trump has criticised the nuclear agreement reached with Iran in July 2015 as the "worst deal ever" and has, at times, threatened to terminate it.

    Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China - all signatories to the deal - have insisted it be kept intact. 

    French President Emmanuel Macron addressed the US Congress this week and conceded while the agreement "may not address all concerns", the parties to the deal "should not abandon it without having something more substantial instead".

    A former CIA director for Trump, Pompeo was sworn in by the Senate as the United States' chief diplomat on Thursday.

    On Friday, Pompeo headed the US delegation to a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels.

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    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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