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US Top Diplomat Pompeo Visits Bahrain, UAE


US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo meets with Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani during his visit to Manama, Bahrain, Aug. 25, 2020. (Bahrain News Agency/Handout via Reuters)

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he spoke Wednesday with officials in Bahrain about “the importance of Gulf unity and countering Iran’s malign influence in the region.”

Pompeo had meetings in Manama with Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa.

On a visit later Wednesday to Abu Dhabi, the State Department said Pompeo would be discussing the agreement the United Arab Emirates and Israel signed earlier this month to normalize their relations as he meets with UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

Pompeo is on a multi-nation trip this week amid a Trump administration push for other Arab nations to follow the UAE in normalizing ties with Israel.

He was in Sudan on Tuesday where, according to a statement from State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus, Pompeo and Sudanese Sovereign Council Chair General Abdel Fattah el-Burhan discussed the “continued deepening of the Israel-Sudan bilateral relationship.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives in Khartoum, Sudan, Aug. 25, 2020.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives in Khartoum, Sudan, Aug. 25, 2020.

Ortagus said they also discussed “the importance of the military’s continued support for the civilian-led transitional government and Sudan’s path toward democracy.”

Pompeo began his trip Monday in Israel where he said the United States will ensure Israel’s military advantage in the Middle East under any potential U.S. arms deals with the United Arab Emirates.

“The United States has a legal requirement with respect to qualitative military edge. We will continue to honor that,” said Pompeo after his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

“But we have a 20-plus year security relationship with the United Arab Emirates as well, where we have provided them with technical assistance and military assistance,” he added.

The top U.S. diplomat’s trip to the Middle East comes after Washington helped broker the Israel-UAE deal earlier this month, a pact that Netanyahu said heralds a new era for the region.

But Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the deal is a "betrayal" of Palestinians. The Israel-UAE deal is seen as breaking a tradition among most Arab countries not to make peace with Israel until Israel and the Palestinians make peace.

Pompeo is also traveling to Oman to close out his trip.

Bahrain and Oman are seen as the next Gulf countries to establish diplomatic ties with Israel.