With an eye on Iran, the United States and Poland will jointly host a ministerial meeting to promote peace and security in the Middle East. The international gathering will be held in Warsaw on Feb. 13 and Feb. 14.
“The ministerial will address a range of critical issues including terrorism and extremism, missile development and proliferation, maritime trade and security, and threats posed by proxy groups across the region,” said the State Department in a statement.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News the upcoming gathering would “focus on Middle East stability and peace and freedom and security,” including “an important element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilizing influence.”
The top U.S. diplomat arrived Friday in Manama, Bahrain Friday, meeting with Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and Bahraini Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa.
The U.S. has praised Bahrain as “a staunch supporter” to push back Iran’s malign efforts, including efforts to counter Iranian sanctions evasion and combat illicit maritime activity.
Pompeo’s visit to Bahrain was his first stop to the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC.)
The GCC is “is essential to countering the single greatest threat to regional stability: the Iranian regime,” said the State Department on Friday, adding the chief American diplomat’s visit to GCC countries is aimed at building support for the pressure campaign against Iran.
From Bahrain, Pompeo traveled to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates late Friday. Other stops on his trip include Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Kuwait.
On Friday, the U.S.-led coalition in Syria is beginning to remove troops from Syria. A day earlier in Cairo, Secretary Pompeo said bringing American troops home from Syria “isn’t a change of mission” and Washington remains “committed to the complete dismantling” of Islamic State militants.
But at the same time, added Pompeo, the U.S. is “looking to our partners to do more.”
“As the fighting continues, we will continue to assist our partners in efforts to guard borders, prosecute terrorists, screen travelers, assist refugees, and more. But “assist” is the key phrase. We ask every peace-loving nation of the Middle East to shoulder new responsibilities for defeating Islamist extremism wherever we find it,” said Pompeo in his remarks Thursday at American University in Cairo.