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Pompeo Arrives in Belgium


U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, arrives for a meeting with European foreign ministers at the Europa building in Brussels, May 13, 2019.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has arrived at the European Union headquarters in Brussels, the first stop on his European trip.

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said Monday that Pompeo will meet with European allies in Belgium "to discuss recent threatening actions and statements by the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Ortagus added that the Secretary "will continue to coordinate closely with our allies and partners and ensure the security of our mutual interests in the Middle East and around the world."

Originally Pompeo had planned to meet Monday with U.S. diplomats and business leaders in Moscow.

There was a late Sunday change of plans, instead, for the secretary to stop in Belgium first.

The schedule for the rest of schedule for the U.S. top diplomat's trip plans remain intact.

Pompeo travels to Sochi Tuesday for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Pompeo’s trip comes a few weeks ahead of a G-20 summit meeting in Osaka, Japan, which both U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Putin will attend.

Pompeo’s trip to Russia also comes as tensions simmer between the two countries over Iran.

The U.S. is strengthening its military presence in the Middle East in what officials said was a “direct response to a number of troubling and escalatory indicators and warnings" from Iran.

The USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and four B-52 bombers have arrived in the Middle East in response to concerns Iran may be planning an attack against American targets.

On Wednesday, Lavrov asked Pompeo to use diplomacy instead of threats to solve issues after Lavrov’s talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarifin Moscow.