Pompeo Meets with Bahrain’s Leaders in Mideast Swing
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met on Wednesday with Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa in Manama, later saying they had spoken about the “malign influence” of Iran. “We discussed the importance of building regional peace and stability, including the importance of Gulf unity and countering Iran’s malign influence in the region,” Pompeo’s Twitter account stated. Left unsaid was peace with Israel. Prior to his trip, the top US diplomat expressed the importance of convincing other Arab and Muslim leaders to follow the lead of the United Arab Emirates, which earlier this month agreed to pursue full normalization with the Jewish state. Following the meetings, the official Bahrain News Agency reported that the king had “stressed the importance of intensifying efforts to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” adding that Hamad still sees a two-state solution and a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem as the only way for that to happen. Pompeo left Manama for the UAE. On Tuesday, he traveled to Sudan, where – despite an apparent thaw in relations with Israel – Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok told him that Khartoum’s decision on ties would have to wait until a democratically elected government closes out a transitional period instituted following the April 2019 ouster of dictator Omar al-Bashir.