Jeddah: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met the King of Saudi Arabia on Monday when he tried to coordinate with allies about rising tensions with Iran. Scheduled for a day trip after Iran shot a US drone, Pompeo flew into the Red Sea town of Jeddah and met King Salman in his palace.
& # 39; You are a good friend, & # 39; said the king to Pompeo, shaking hands with the American diplomat and his assistants. Later, Pompeo will meet the mighty crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, before flying to meetings in the United Arab Emirates, US officials said.
Both Saudi and Emiratist leaders argue for a tough American approach to regionally rival Iran, whose fall in the unmanned drone led US President Donald Trump to order a military strike before changing his mind.
Pompeo, which has added the Middle East, is stopping for a previously planned visit to India, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates called & # 39; two major allies in the challenge that Iran presents & # 39 ;. When he told reporters when he left Washington, he said, "We will talk to them about how we can ensure that we are all strategically aligned and how we can build a global coalition."
The United States was looking for a coalition "not only in the Gulf states but also in Asia and Europe that understands this challenge and is willing to push back against & # 39; the world's largest state sponsor of terror," said Pompeo.
But the US aggressive attitude has drawn limited support from its allies in Europe, who still support a denuclearization deal negotiated under former President Barack Obama from which Trump pulled out last year, which led to tensions. Iran says the American drone has attacked its airspace, a denial that Washington is accusing Washington of waging economic warfare by unilaterally imposing sanctions, including trying to stop all its oil exports.
The American pointman about Iran, Brian Hook, held his own talks in Oman last Monday, who often served as an intermediary for Washington and Tehran. Pompeo's journey comes despite the growing controversy in the United States over the cozy relationship of the Trump government with Mohammed bin Salman after the US-based dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered in the Saudi consulate last year in Istanbul.
Pompeo used rare emergency powers, with Iran cited as a threat, to allow USD 8.1 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, despite concerns in the US Congress that the weapons will go to kill civilians in the devastating war in Yemen.