Pompeo in Saudi Arabia to talk Iran and economy


Riyadh (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to discuss regional security, namely Iran, after the U.S. killing last month of a top Iranian general pushed the oil-producing region closer to an all-out war.

In meetings with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the next two days, Pompeo will also raise economic issues.

Saudi Arabia has backed the Trump administration’s efforts to counter Iran but cautioned against military action after a series of strikes last year damaged its oil facilities. Riyadh blamed the attacks on Tehran, which denies responsibility.

The United States and Iran backed off from intensified conflict last month after a U.S. air strike in Iraq killed Qassem Soleimani and Tehran retaliated with missile strikes on U.S. bases that injured more than 100 troops.

“We are not rushed, the pressure campaign continues. It’s not just an economic pressure campaign… It’s isolation through diplomacy as well,” Pompeo said before his flight to Riyadh.

“(In Riyadh) we’ll spend a lot of time talking about the security issues — the threats from Islamic Republic of Iran in particular, but we’ll talk about a broad range of things.”

Pompeo’s trip comes three weeks after President Donald Trump unveiled his long-awaited Middle East peace plan, which the Palestinians rejected outright.

Saudi Arabia expressed support for direct peace negotiations under U.S. auspices while reiterating unwavering commitment to the Palestinian cause.

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