US announces global summit to combat Iran's 'destabilising influence'
The United States will organise an international summit in Poland next month on Iran’s Middle Eastern influence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News.
Pompeo made the announcement in an interview with the network during a regional tour aimed at reassuring US allies after President Donald Trump’s shock decision to withdraw all US troops from Syria, which sparked concerns that Iran’s influence could grow.
“We’ll bring together dozens of countries from all around the world,” Pompeo told Fox.
They will “focus on Middle East stability and peace and freedom and security here in this region, and that includes an important element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilising influence,” the top US diplomat said.
The event will take place on February 13 and 14.
Trump's administration has steadily ratcheted up pressure on Tehran since withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal last year. It has vowed to increase the pressure until Iran halts what US officials describe as its “malign" and "destabilising" activities throughout the region and elsewhere, including support for Yemen's Houthi rebels, anti-Israel groups and Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Pompeo brought this anti-Iran message to Gulf Arab states on Friday, calling for increased pressure on Iran and unity among Gulf neighbors during a visit to Bahrain and later the United Arab Emirates.
Pompeo's stops in the two countries were the latest in a nine-nation tour of the Middle East that will also bring him to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait.
As Pompeo departed Egypt for Bahrain on Friday, the State Department released a statement underscoring the importance of US partnerships with the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
"These Gulf partnerships are critical to achieving shared regional objectives -- defeating ISIS, countering radical Islamic terrorism, protecting global energy supplies, and rolling back Iranian aggression," the State Department said.
At each of his stops in the Gulf, Pompeo will be urging progress on creating the Middle East Strategic Alliance, which would join GCC militaries with those of Egypt and Jordan to serve as a counter-balance to Iran, which they all accuse of fomenting unrest and rebellion throughout the region.
(Arab Weekly staff and news agencies)