Insisting that he will continue as U.S. secretary of state for another term, Mike Pompeo announced that he will be heading to the Middle East, Turkey and Georgia to visit key American allies to discuss U.S. President Donald Trump’s “historic efforts to forge peace and cooperation throughout the Middle East.”
Pompeo will be visiting Jerusalem, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, and he will be the first secretary of state since John Kerry to visit the country of Georgia.
Israel and Gulf Arabs have enjoyed warm relations with the United States, primarily based on a shared hostility with Iran. Pompeo is expected to discuss increasing pressure on Iran in the next two months.
Pompeo also banished any expectations of awkwardness as he meets with these countries, even though he seems to be representing a lame-duck administration.
Shocking reporters Pompeo said at a news conference Tuesday, “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.” He continued, “The world should have every confidence that the transition necessary to make sure that the State Department is functional today… with the president who is in office on Jan. 20 (the date of the presidential inauguration) a minute after noon will be successful.”
Interestingly, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman were slow to congratulate Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has yet to do so.
Israel, meanwhile, is planning to send its first delegation to Sudan next week for official talks between the two countries on the third normalization deal brokered by the Trump administration between Israel and a Muslim nation in the last three months.
The normalization deal came after Trump removed Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. Two days after the deal was announced, Israel announced it was sending $5 million worth of wheat to Sudan to help with the economic crisis.
Sudan also began allowing Israeli planes to fly over its airspace. The first Israeli commercial flight passed over Sudanese airspace this week. The plane flew to Uganda in order to bring a delegation from there to Israel for an agricultural project. The five-hour flight saves a half hour thanks to the use of Sudanese airspace.