By INU Staff
INU- During his stopover in Abu Dhabai, part of a regional tour which has taken him to Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and Bahrain, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlined Washington’s three main priorities in the Middle East, in an exclusive interview with Najwa Kassem for Al Arabiya.
Pompeo described these priorities as countering Iran, destroying ISIS, and ensuring regional stability in the Middle East.
Pompeo’s visit will continue with stops in Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The tour will wrap up on Monday and Tuesday in Oman and Kuwait.
Pompeo told Al Arabiya that “three things [we are] working on, different for each of our partners around the world. But America’s here and this is important to us; Middle East stability, destroying ISIS, completing the destruction of the ‘caliphate', are very important missions for the United States. And countering Iran, the threat from the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, the Islamic Republic of Iran, is something President Trump has identified as one of his top priorities. We are determined to do that, we will do it with our partners in the Middle East. This is a mission for the world. It’s incredibly important and we are determined to do it. I want to make sure that I got a chance to swing through the region one more time. I have been here a lot in my life and I come back one more time and reassure them that America is committed to this and talk about how we’re going to execute it.”
He also discussed the Ministerial in Warsaw, saying, “We will have countries from Asia, Africa, Western Hemisphere countries from South America; this will be a broad coalition aimed at Middle East stability. We’ll talk about how we counter terror, there will be focus on Iran. There will be conversations about financial systems and how we ensure that financial systems don’t sponsor terror. There will be broad conversations with a large group, dozens and dozens of countries we expect to attend over the course of the ministerial. It’s the first time we have put together a ministerial this way and we think it will show the whole world that there is a broad determination to make life better here and take the terror regimes down in the region.”
When asked about America withdrawing from Syria, he said, “America supports fights against terror all around the world. Sometimes we do it with US soldiers, sometimes we do it with forces from partner countries. Sometimes we do it in other ways, diplomatic means, economic means, financial means, building up coalitions. There are many tools in the power projection arsenal, and so no terrorist, no Iranian should believe that the fact that a couple of thousand US soldiers are going to be redeployed out of Syria, in any way diminishes our commitment.”
Pompeo explained that America wants the Iranian people to know that we want a better life for them, and the Iranian’s people voices to be heard. He said, “We want a real democracy in the Islamic Republic of Iran. And a real democracy doesn’t support Hezbollah, a real democracy doesn’t support Shiite militias in Iraq. They are reducing Iraqi independence; a real democracy wouldn’t be active in Yemen in the way that they are by underwriting the Houthis today. We want the Iranians people’s voices to be heard, and so we don’t want them to fear us. We want them to know that we are here, we hear them, and we want a better life for the people in Iran as well.”
He also talked about the millions of people who have had to flee their homes because of the conflict in Syria and said that the mission is to create the political conditions so that those people can return and they can once again restore power to the people in Syria as well.
He added that he was heading to Saudi Arabia where he would have another set of constructive conversations. “The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an important partner of the United States, they have been very helpful to us on multiple things that matter to the American people and I am convinced that partnership will remain strong,” he said, and called it a “mutually beneficial relationship” that would create stability in the Middle East. “I am convinced the kingdom will be a great ally…” he concluded.