By Sohaila Barghash
Pompeo held talks with several leaders in the Middle East, the most recent being held in Cairo on Thursday with Sisi. Talks aimed at reassuring America’s Arab partners that the Trump administration is not walking away from the region.
Confusion and concern rose in the region due to uncertainty over Trump’s plans to withdraw US troops from Syria.
This is the main reason Pompeo stopped in Egypt after visits to Jordan and Iraq to assure Arab partners that withdrawal
from Syria will not lead to Washington abandoning the fight against Islamic State militants or easing pressure on Iran.
In fact, in the meeting with Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, Pompeo assured him that the US will step up pressure on Iran.
Discussions regarding security and economic cooperation were also part of the meeting.
On twitter, Pompeo described his last meeting as “productive.” Adding that “the U.S. stands firmly with Egypt in its commitments to protecting religious freedom and in the fight against terrorism that threatens all of our friends in the Middle East.”
Pompeo is also scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, after which he is expected to deliver a speech at the American University in Cairo on Washington’s broader Middle East objectives, focused on combatting threats from Iran.
US President Donald Trump has been on good terms with Sisi, regardless of being criticized for his human rights record and democratic shortcomings.
Additionally, The Trump administration has resumed weapons sales to Egypt, which was suspended due to human rights concerns.
From Egypt, Pompeo plans to continue on his tour to the Gulf Arab states – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait – to emphasize their stand.