US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said on Thursday that the Trump administration hopes to establish a coalition consisting of the GCC states, Egypt, and Jordan, naming it the “Middle East Strategic Alliance”.
“The Trump Administration is also working to establish the Middle East Strategic Alliance – or ‘MESA’ to confront the region’s most serious threats, and bolster energy and economic cooperation. This effort is bringing together members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, as well as Egypt and Jordan. Today we ask those countries to take the next step in solidifying MESA,” Pompeo said in a speech in Cairo during a Middle East tour.
Ending Middle East rivalries
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Thursday for an end to Middle East rivalries to roll back Tehran’s influence and vowed to “expel every last Iranian boot” from Syria.
“It’s time for old rivalries to end, for the sake of the greater good of the region,” Pompeo said in a speech in Cairo during a Middle East tour to reassure allies about US plans to withdraw troops from Syria.
The US “will use diplomacy and work with our partners to expel every last Iranian boot” from Syria and will bolster efforts “to bring peace and stability to the long-suffering Syrian people,” he said.
US works with its allies
“We once had tens of thousands of US military personnel in Saudi Arabia. Now that number is a tiny fraction. When we do set up major bases, as we have done in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey, and the UAE, it is at the invitation of the host country.
Our allies and partners have helped greatly in the counter-ISIS effort.
France and Britain joined our strikes on Syria and have supported our anti-terror effort. Jordan and Turkey have hosted millions of Syrians fleeing violence.”
“Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries have given generously toward stabilization efforts. We thank all of them for their help, and we urge them to continue.
The United States has also helped liberated areas – an important means of preventing the ISIS from re-emerging. We have provided nearly $2.5 billion in humanitarian assistance to Iraq since 2014.”
Partnerships for future
“We’re also building partnerships for future shared prosperity. It’s time for old rivalries to end, for the sake of the greater good of the region.
The Trump Administration is also working to establish the Middle East Strategic Alliance to confront the region’s most serious threats, and bolster energy and economic cooperation. This effort is bringing together members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, as well as Egypt and Jordan. Today we ask those countries to take the next step in solidifying MESA.”
New bonds taking root
“New bonds are taking root that were unimaginable until very recently.
Who could’ve believed a few years ago that an Israeli Prime Minister would visit Muscat?
Or that new ties would emerge between Saudi Arabia and Iraq?
Or that a Roman Catholic Pope would visit this city to meet with Muslim imams and the head of the Coptic faith?”
Tough US sanctions against Iran
“The nations of the Middle East will never enjoy security, achieve economic stability, or advance the dreams of its peoples if Iran’s revolutionary regime persists on its current course.
February 11th will mark 40 years since that oppressive regime came to power.
America’s economic sanctions against the regime are the strongest in history, and will keep getting tougher until Iran starts behaving like a normal country.” The 12 demands we stated in May remain in force, because the regime’s threat to the region endures.
Middle East tour
Pompeo’s speech came on the third leg of a nine-nation Mideast tour aimed at reassuring the US’ Arab partners that the Trump administration is not walking away from the region amid confusion and concern over plans to withdraw US forces from Syria.
Earlier in Cairo, he met with Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to discuss security and economic cooperation.