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Pompeo begins Mideast tour amid Arab intervention plan

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has embarked on a tour of the Middle East in a bid to muster support for President Donald Trump’s proposal to form an Arab military force to replace American troops in Syria.

Pompeo met with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh on Saturday, though the content of their discussions was not released.

The US secretary of state was expected to meet Saudi King Salman on Sunday and then fly on to the occupied territories to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He will also travel to Jordan for talks with King Abdullah II.

The trip comes as the Trump administration is reviewing US involvement in the Syria conflict after repeatedly complaining about the cost and duration of the military intervention in the Middle East.

Last December, he lamented Washington’s waste of money in the Middle East wars, tweeting, “After having foolishly spent $7 trillion in the Middle East, it is time to start rebuilding our country!”

Earlier this month, Trump called on Washington’s allies, “including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt, and others” to form an Arab force to replace the US military in Syria.

“America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria under no circumstances. As other nations step up their contributions, we look forward to the day when we can bring our warriors home,” he said.




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