US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel on Friday for a trip to seven countries, including France, where his meetings will be held in “complete openness to the team of President-elect Joe Biden,” according to a statement from French President Emmanuel Macron’s office. . The visit comes days after the US top diplomat raised eyebrows by insisting that the 2020 US presidential election had not been decided and that President Donald Trump would win.
Pompeo’s trip to seven countries in Europe and the Middle East aims to strengthen the priorities of the outgoing Trump administration, in particular its policy towards China and Iran.
But the common US foreign policy issues are likely to be overshadowed by an extraordinary moment in global politics: While most of the world has accepted the results of the November 3 presidential election, the top US diplomat – like the US president and much of his Republican party – has not.
Pompeo’s trip to France, Turkey, Georgia, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia comes days after the US Secretary of State raised the alarm when he dismissed a reporter’s question about the transition period after Trump’s refusal to allow the 2020 presidential race to Joe Biden.
“There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” Pompeo told a news conference Tuesday. “Okay? We’re ready.”
A few days later, however, Pompeo softened his remarks, noting that the State Department will be functional and successful with the president taking office on January 20, 2021. However, these comments and subsequent statements in interviews with conservative media did not acknowledge that Biden would take office next year.
Russia is the only major power that has not congratulated Biden on his expected victory after China joined most of the world on Friday to accept the election results.
France, along with Germany, Britain and other European countries, congratulated Biden last weekend and French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday held his first telephone conversation with the US President-elect.
Pompeo will see Macron on Monday in a meeting that will be held “in complete openness to the team of President-elect Joe Biden,” Macron’s office said.
In line with Trump’s refusal to allow and order government agencies not to cooperate with the Biden transition team, the State Department has not been involved in facilitating Biden’s talks with foreign leaders, according to officials familiar with the process.
France urges US troops to stay in Afghanistan, Iraq
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Friday that the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan was on the table during Pompeo’s visit and that France would urge the United States to stay in both countries.
Le Drian answered a question about Trump’s reported plans to accelerate a US withdrawal from Afghanistan during a television interview. “We do not think it should happen. We will also say that it should not happen in Iraq either,” Le Drian said.
According to political and diplomatic sources, Pompeo issued an ultimatum in September that all US personnel would leave Iraq unless the government stopped a series of attacks on them.
One month before the November 3 election, Trump declared that he wanted all US troops home from Afghanistan “for Christmas” on December 25.
This promise was followed by clarifying attempts by senior officials, including National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, who said the number of troops in Afghanistan would be reduced to about 2,500 by early 2021.
‘I am Secretary of State’
Pompeo’s ardent support for Trump, who has unequivocally claimed that the election was plagued by fraud, threatens to damage America’s position on statements about other countries’ democratic shortcomings.
On Thursday, Pompeo weighed in on Hong Kong’s Legislative Assembly, and in recent weeks he has condemned alleged electoral problems in Belarus, Tanzania and Côte d’Ivoire.
Still, at its press conference on Tuesday, Pompeo dismissed a question about whether Trump’s unfounded protests have created problems for the United States’ credibility. “You asked a ridiculous question,” he replied. “This department cares deeply to ensure that elections around the world are safe and secure and free and fair, and my officers risk their lives to make that happen.”
In addition to Macron, Biden has already spoken with leaders in Australia, Canada, Japan and South Korea and posted congratulations on social media and elsewhere from others.
Pompeo has said he would continue as if there was no change.
“I am Secretary of State,” he said. “I get calls from all over the world. These people are watching our election. They understand that we have a legal process. They understand that this takes time. ”
( Jowharwith AP and AFP)