Pompeo heads to Saudi Arabia, UAE for Iran crisis talks

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to the media at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, on Sunday before boarding a plane headed to Jeddah. — Reuters

Washington — US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday he will visit Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for talks on the crisis sparked by Iran's downing an American drone.

"We'll be talking with them about how to make sure that we are all strategically aligned and how we can build out a global coalition" on Iran, he said.

Iran shot down a US Global Hawk drone on Thursday, saying it had violated its airspace near the strategic Strait of Hormuz -- a claim the United States denies.

US President Donald Trump called off a planned retaliatory military strike Friday, saying the response would not have been "proportionate," with Tehran warning any attack would see Washington's interests across the Middle East go up in flames.

Pompeo said he would stop in the two countries on his way to India, where he begins a visit on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters as he left Washington, Pompeo called Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates "great allies in the challenge that Iran presents." — AFP


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