Friday 15 November 2019, 08:25 AM
Pompeo visits Iraq amid tensions with Iran
By IANS | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 5/8/2019 5:48:09 PM
Pompeo visits Iraq amid tensions with Iran

Baghdad: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made an unannounced visit to Iraq after abruptly cancelling a planned trip to Germany amid escalating tensions with Iran.

The top US diplomat met Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi, President Barham Salih and other officials while on the ground in the Iraqi capital in a roughly four-hour visit on Tuesday, according to the pool travelling with him.Pompeo described his meetings as "productive" and said he spoke to the officials "about the importance of Iraq ensuring that it's able to adequately protect Americans in their country", CNN reported on Wednesday.
 
"They both provided assurances that they understood that was their responsibility," he said.Pompeo's visit came days after a US aircraft carrier was deployed to the Middle East region, which officials said was in response to threats to American forces and its allies from Iran. 
 
Speaking to the press pool following his visit, Pompeo reiterated that it was the US' understanding that "these were attacks that were imminent, these were attacks that were going to happen fairly soon, we've learned about them and we're taking every action to deter them".
 
He said that the US "wanted to let them (Iraqis) know about the increased threat stream that we had seen and give them a little bit more background on that so they could ensure that they were doing all they could to provide protection for our team."They understood too it's important for their country. We don't want anyone interfering in their country, certainly not by attacking another nation inside of Iraq and there was complete agreement."
 
Before his arrival in Baghdad, Pompeo declined to go into details when asked to give details on the "tipping point" for his abrupt change of travel plans.He said he had informed President Donald Trump of his travel schedule on Monday night and that the latter had asked him to pass along a number of messages.
 
The top US official said that he and officials discussed how to defeat the remaining pockets of the Islamic State in the country and foreign terrorist fighters being held in Iraqi detention camps. Although Pompeo indicated prior to his stop that he would discuss "big energy deals that can disconnect (Iraq) from Iranian energy," he said afterwards that although they spoke about energy infrastructure, they "didn't spend much time talking about sanctions issues".
 

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