Published: Mon, April 30, 2018
Sport | By Floyd Cook

Mike Pompeo attacks Russian Federation during first trip as U.S. secretary of state

Mike Pompeo attacks Russian Federation during first trip as U.S. secretary of state

"There was discussion today about Ukraine, Ukraine's potential entry to be a NATO partner but there's much work to do along the way to achieve that", Pompeo said after being asked by an UNIAN correspondent in Brussels to give a flavor of NATO ministers' discussion on Ukraine's aspirations to join NATO and provide his own opinion on the issue.

He said that despite Russia's opposition to the expansion of the Western military alliance, "NATO's doors remain open".

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg previously said the alliance had responded with "resolve and unity" to Moscow's "pattern of unsafe behaviour", which also includes the annexation of Crimea, cyber-attacks, disinformation and elections meddling.

"I visited Skopje and made it clear that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is still committed to what it said at the 2008 Summit in Bucharest - that we are ready to invite that country to become a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member once the issue of its name has been resolved".

The alliance remains open to talks with Russian Federation, the secretary general said, and the channels must remain open especially when tensions on the continent are high. That commitment was made in 2014 and thus far only six of the 28 countries who made the pledge meet the goal.

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Pompeo will arrive in Riyadh on Saturday ahead of a series of events that could potentially plunge the region into deeper disarray, including Trump's decision by May 12 on whether to pull out of the Iran deal, and the opening of the new US Embassy in Beit-ul-Moqaddas two days later. Relations with the latter are notably strained.

The ministers are also likely to agree on the details of NATO's new training mission for the Iraqi armed forces. Pompeo will also renew calls for the release of a jailed American pastor accused by Turkey of espionage, and encourage Turkey not to pursue the purchase of an advanced air defense system from Russian Federation.

Earlier in the week, U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchinson said Turkey purchasing the missile defense system from Russian Federation is worrying for her country and added that there would be "serious consequences".

Pompeo, a foreign policy hawk who has served as Trump's director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), departed for his first foreign trip as secretary of state just hours after confirmation.

As he left Washington on Thursday, the State Department said Pompeo would also visit Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel during the weekend.

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