Top US diplomats arrive in France on a tough tour of 7 countries

PARIS (AP) – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Paris on Saturday with the start of a tour of seven countries in Europe and the Middle East, a visit that was certain as his schedule was greeted by all countries in the US presidential race. For their victory.

The purpose of the visit is to fulfill the priorities of President Donald Trump’s outgoing administration. This will include visits to Israeli settlements in the West Bank which have been avoided by previous secretaries of state.

The United States’ top diplomats – as well as most of its president and his Republican Party – have not accepted the results of the US election, and unusual circumstances will likely resolve the issue.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Friday noted “difficult topics” from the situation in Iraq and Iran, terrorism, the Middle East and China.

“At this time, my counterpart is Mike Pompeo, as of January 20…” Le Drian said on BFMTV, mentioning the date Trump’s term ended. “He is coming to Paris. I get it. “

The meeting will take place on Monday, Le Drian said, suggesting that Pompeo will also meet with French President Emmanuel Macron. Paris is in the midst of a lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of coronovirus.

The French president, who spoke with Biden four days ago to congratulate him, had a strained relationship with Trump. The two leaders initially lured each other to the point of extravagance, as Macron honored Trump in the Bastille Day military parade. Trump later slammed Macron by the Paris Global Climate Agreement.

The United States left Iran’s nuclear deal hard, and Pompeo said in a tweet before leaving on his trip that “Iran’s unstable behavior” would be among the topics discussed.

In an arrival tweet on Saturday in France, Pompeo laid the standard diplomatic basis for their Paris talks, noting that France is the “oldest friend and ally” of the United States. “The strong relationship between our countries cannot be underestimated,” he tweeted.

Promoting religious freedom and combating terrorism during his visit was also one of the topics on the table. Both issues are quite relevant to France. France has had three terrorist attacks in recent weeks, killing four people, most recently associated with the republished caricature of the Prophet of Islam. Anti-French demonstrations rolled through some Muslim countries, including the right to draw carvings, after Macron asserted his nation’s respect for freedom of expression.

After France, Pompeo’s tour took him to Turkey, Georgia, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The leaders of all those countries paid public congratulations to Biden.

France, Turkey, Georgia and Qatar have close ties with the Trump administration, and it was unclear whether Pompeo planned a public engagement with his leaders – or whether he would question the press, with whom he had a frosty relationship is.

The administration’s relations with Turkey have become particularly tense following the purchase of the Russian missile defense system by a NATO ally, and Pompeo’s closure in Istanbul next week will not include meetings with Turkish officials. Instead, Pompeo will hold meetings with religious leaders to highlight his promotion of religious freedom.

Palestinian officials, who have been snubbed by the Trump administration, have condemned Pamago’s plan to visit the West Bank settlement. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shatyeh tweeted on Friday that it was a “dangerous precedent” that legalized settlements.

Considering Trump’s refusal and orders for cabinet agencies not to cooperate with the Biden transition team, the State Department has not been involved with facilitating Biden’s call, according to officials familiar with the process.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Pompeo said he would act as if there was no change.

“I’m the Secretary of State,” he said. “I am getting calls from all over the world. These people are watching our election. They understand that we have a legal process. They understand that it takes time. “

Still looking forward to his French counterpart Le Drian, he said in Cairo last Sunday that “we will work with the new president of the United States and his team in the framework of new trans-Atlantic relations, to make us do it again Will need – found it. “


Matthew Lee contributed to this report in Washington.


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