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Pompeo’s unusual farewell tour, stuffed with symbolism and silence

By Related Press

ABU DHABI: What’s Donald Trump’s prime diplomat to do when allies have turned the web page and are ready for Joe Biden however the president refuses to concede?

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is addressing the complicated predicament with a most uncommon 10-day journey — a farewell tour in every part however identify through which he has dodged the press however solid forward with Trump’s norm-shattering international coverage.

The journey opened with 54 hours in Paris through which he appeared for a complete of 1 minute in public, when he laid a wreath in reminiscence of victims of current jihadist assaults in France.

Pompeo spent the complete weekend in Paris accompanied by his spouse, Susan, staying on the US ambassador’s residence on what was nonetheless described as personal time, with a sequence of conferences that weren’t listed on his public schedule.

When Pompeo resurfaced on Monday, he paid the short go to to the memorial earlier than conferences with France’s President Emmanuel Macron and International Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian that have been closed to the press.

It was Pompeo’s first bilateral go to to America’s oldest ally throughout his tenure.

France described Pompeo’s journey as a courtesy go to and stated it was absolutely clear with the crew of Biden, whose victory has been hailed in European capitals after 4 years of tensions with the unilateral-minded Trump.

– Diplomacy of a distinct kind –

Pompeo headed from Paris to Istanbul at a time of excessive pressure between France and Turkey, and agreed, in assertion to the French newspaper Le Figaro, that current actions by Ankara have been “very aggressive”.

Not that he was going to mediate. Pompeo didn’t meet any officers on his go to to Turkey, with the State Division blaming incompatible schedules.

As a substitute Pompeo, an evangelical Christian who has put a prime precedence on spiritual freedom, met with the chief of the Orthodox world, Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, in addition to the Vatican’s American-born envoy.

Turkey complained about Pompeo’s go to, saying the USA ought to tackle racism and different points at house, and has already congratulated Biden, though President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is bracing for a harder relationship with the Democrat who has vowed to empower Turkey’s opposition.

As Trump made baseless allegations of voting fraud in intently fought states together with Georgia, Pompeo headed on to a different Georgia — the nation within the Caucasus.

Tbilisi, keen to spice up relations with the USA, goes by means of its personal inner disaster with the opposition boycotting parliament, saying October 31 elections have been rigged.

– Breaking taboos for Israel –

Pompeo lastly spoke on his fourth cease, in Jerusalem, the place he pushed the Trump technique of unstinting help for Israel and most stress on Iran.

For what’s going to doubtless be his last go to as the highest US diplomat, he broke taboos and have become the primary secretary of state to go to an Israeli settlement within the West Financial institution  — extra exactly, the Psagot vineyard.

That enterprise had already rolled out a Pompeo wine label after he contested the worldwide consensus that Israeli building on occupied Palestinian land is against the law.

Pompeo additionally grew to become the primary secretary of state to tour the Golan Heights, whose annexation by Israel from Syria was recognised by Trump.

Ben Rhodes, a prime aide to former president Barack Obama and a serious critic of Pompeo, instructed NBC that the lame-duck secretary of state appeared targeted on not simply “complicating the Biden presidency however his personal political pursuits”.

He was alluding to vast hypothesis that Pompeo will search the White Home in 2024, a marketing campaign through which he’ll doubtless attain out to fellow evangelical Christians who’re staunchly supportive of Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the “super friendship” of Pompeo however, aware of the longer term, he spoke by telephone with Biden on Tuesday, in what the premier’s workplace known as a “heat” dialog.

Pompeo highlighted a signature achievement of Trump by taking part within the first-ever go to to Jerusalem by the international minister of Bahrain, which formally established diplomatic ties with Israel final month.

He then flew to the United Arab Emirates, which has additionally normalised relations with the Jewish state, and is ending his tour with stops in Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Pompeo is predicted to transient the Arab allies on US deliberations on whether or not to label the Iranian-linked Huthi rebels in war-ravaged Yemen as a “terrorist” group.

Hypothesis has additionally grown of extra dramatic motion towards Iran, with The New York Instances reporting that Trump after the election mulled a navy strike over its nuclear programme, which has grown since Trump withdrew from a denuclearisation accord.

No matter his discussions, they might stay secret for now with Pompeo wanting set to undergo the entire journey with out taking questions from the travelling press, a silent spell with little precedent within the historical past of the State Division.


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