Mike Pompeo to Saudi Arabia: ‘Gulf unity is necessary’
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called for unity in the Gulf region during a visit to Saudi Arabia, his first foreign trip in his new role as the US' top diplomat.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Sunday, Pompeo said, "Gulf unity is necessary and we need to achieve it."
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt, cut diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Qatar nearly one year ago, accusing the country of supporting "terrorism". Doha strongly denies the charge.
In advance of Pompeo's visit, US officials told reporters that the US secretary of state would urge Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and King Salman to resolve the Gulf crisis in a series of meetings on Saturday and Sunday.
US President Donald Trump initially appeared supportive of the Saudi-led initiative, while Pompeo's predecessor, the recently removed Rex Tillerson, blamed Saudi Arabia and its allies for the stalemate in resolving the crisis.
Officials said Pompeo called for an end to the blockade because the US believes it has enabled Iran to exploit disunity in the Gulf by enhancing its influence in Yemen and Syria, the Associated Press news agency reported.