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Pompeo in Germany as first stop on Europe trip

May 31, 2019

The US Secretary of State is hoping to persuade European allies that Washington is not looking for conflict with Iran. European states have been fighting to save the Iran nuclear deal amid rising tensions with the US.

Mike Pompeo
Image: Reuters/J.L. Duggan

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to Germany on Thursday for a belated meeting with European leaders.

Pompeo abruptly cancelled his previous visit in early May to fly to Iraq amid escalating tensions with Iran.

Pompeo will visit Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the UK.

In Berlin, he will meet with his German counterpart Heiko Maas and Chancellor Angela Merkel. US President Donald Trump has openly and repeatedly clashed with Merkel, despite being close allies.

He has criticized Germany for its welcoming stance towards migrants, supposed trade imbalances, its tolerance of Huawei, the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia, and defense spending, among many other issues.

Germany, alongside other European Union members, has voiced opposition and disapproval of Trump's escalating war of words and sanctions with Iran after he unilaterally withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal.

The US appeared to be headed on an increasingly violent trajectory with Iran, but in recent weeks Trump has distanced himself from his more hawkish advisors and sought a slightly more conciliatory position with Iran.

Switzerland handles US interests in Iran, given an absence of diplomatic relations between the two nations, and the topic will likely be on the agenda when in the mountainous state.

In Germany, he will probably discuss US plans to withdraw from Afghanistan, US opposition to Huawei involvement in 5G infrastructure, and Iran. He will be joined by Trump for his visit to the UK.

aw/rc (AFP, dpa, AP)

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