LONDON: The United States’ relationship with Saudi Arabia is essential to the Middle East’s stability and security, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday.
The US secretary of state told Al Arabiya that America wants an Arab coalition and force that is capable of facing the different challenges in the region. He added that the US will not be leaving the Middle East, and that destroying Daesh is a priority.
Pompeo is on a whistlestop regional tour aimed at reassuring US allies after President Donald Trump’s shock decision to withdraw all US troops from Syria. He was in Abu Dhabi on Saturday after a visit to Bahrain on Friday.
He told Al Arabiya that the US withdrawal from Syria does not contradict its strategy towards Iran, and nor does it mean a retreat with regards to fighting terrorism.
The Iranian people should know that interfering in the affairs of other states is “unacceptable,” and the US wants to hear the voice of the Iranian people, Pompeo said.
The US top diplomat has also visited Cairo, Amman, Baghdad, and the Iraqi Kurdish regional capital of Irbil.
The United States plans to jointly host a global summit focused on the Middle East, particularly Iran, next month in Poland, the US State Department said on Friday. The gathering will take place in Warsaw from Feb. 13 to Feb. 14, it said in a statement.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News in an interview on Friday that the meeting would “focus on Middle East stability and peace and freedom and security here in this region, and that includes an important element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilizing influence.”
Pompeo said that a number of matters would be discussed at the summit, the most important of which would be Iran.