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Pompeo Continues Middle East Swing in Oman
State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus (left) poses in May with Felice Friedson, president and CEO of The Media Line, while in Jerusalem. (The Media Line)

Pompeo Continues Middle East Swing in Oman

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Oman on Thursday as part of a Middle Eastern tour aimed at encouraging Arab nations to follow in the steps of the United Arab Emirates, which two weeks ago agreed to normalize ties with Israel. While in Muscat, he will hold talks with Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al-Said, who succeeded Qaboos bin Said, the longtime leader who died in January. Pompeo spent Wednesday in the UAE, where he met with senior officials. During his visit, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus told the official Emirates news agency WAM that “incredibly positive conversations” have been taking place about the sale of military hardware to the Gulf state in the wake of the normalization agreement. This includes the F-35 advanced stealth fighter jet, something that has elicited concern in Israel, which has its own F-35s and enjoys the provisions of US congressional legislation ensuring its qualitative military edge. A senior member of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party was quoted as saying this week that Israel is against the sale of “even one screw” of the F-35 to the UAE or any other country in the area. Ortagus told WAM: “With respect to the F-35 or any military hardware or infrastructure, I keep reminding people that it is important to know that the UAE and US’s military and security relationship is robust and has been there for decades.”

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