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Thursday, February 15, 2024

US Secratary of State heads to Saudi Arabia, UAE for Iran crisis talks


US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday he will visit Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for talks on the crisis sparked by Iran’s downing an American drone.

“We’ll be talking with them about how to make sure that we are all strategically aligned and how we can build out a global coalition” on Iran, he said.

The United States is committed to working with our partners in the region to safeguard freedom of navigation and deter Iranian threats to international trade and shipping.

Iran shot down a US Global Hawk drone on Thursday, saying it had violated its airspace near the strategic Strait of Hormuz – a claim the United States denies.

US President Donald Trump called off a planned retaliatory military strike Friday, saying the response would not have been “proportionate,” with Tehran warning any attack would see Washington’s interests across the Middle East go up in flames.

Pompeo said he would stop in the two countries on his way to India, where he begins a visit on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters as he left Washington, Pompeo called Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates “great allies in the challenge that Iran presents.”

US Lobbying against Iran?

(Addition by GVS News Desk)

The State Department’s top official for Iran will travel to the Middle East this week to meet with key allies, the agency said.

Brian Hook, the US special representative for Tehran, will depart Washington for the region Wednesday to hold meetings with officials in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain.

Read more: US trying to lobby in Middle East against Iran

“Hook will discuss Iran’s regional aggression, including its recent attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman,” the agency said, referring to recent attacks the US blamed on Tehran, which denies the allegations.

The State Department said Hook will share additional intelligence the US has “on the range of active threats Iran currently poses to the region.”

AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk