February 25, 2021

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Luxembourg, EU snub Pompeo in remaining Europe vacation, diplomats say

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BRUSSELS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of Point out Mike Pompeo cancelled his Europe excursion at the past moment on Tuesday after Luxembourg’s overseas minister and best European Union officials declined to meet up with with him, European and U.S. diplomats acquainted with the issue claimed.

The amazing snub of the top rated U.S. diplomat, to start with documented by Reuters, came times after the storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump, an unparalleled assault on American democracy that shocked quite a few world leaders and U.S. allies.

Pompeo, a shut ally of Trump, had sought to satisfy Jean Asselborn in Luxembourg, a modest but rich NATO ally, right before conference EU leaders and the bloc’s major diplomat in Brussels, three people shut to the arranging informed Reuters.

But the original approach to go to Luxembourg, which had not been officially announced, was scrapped just after officials there showed reluctance to grant Pompeo appointments, a diplomatic resource reported. The Brussels leg was however on until eventually the previous minute.

But the slim itinerary of Pompeo’s ultimate go to to Brussels elevated thoughts about the merit of the trip. There had been no conferences on his schedule with EU officers or any community gatherings at NATO. A 3rd diplomatic resource said allies ended up “embarrassed” by Pompeo after the violence in Washington very last Wednesday that remaining 5 lifeless.

Trump encouraged his supporters at a rally before that working day to march on the setting up that homes the Senate and the House of Representatives even though lawmakers ended up certifying Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s Nov. 3 election victory. The Republican president claims, devoid of proof, that the election was stolen from him.

Pompeo condemned the violence but produced no reference to the position that Trump’s baseless claims performed in galvanizing the march on the Capitol.

Appalled by the violence, Luxembourg’s Asselborn had called Trump a “criminal” and a “political pyromaniac” on RTL Radio the next working day.

Luxembourg’s foreign ministry confirmed the earlier prepared prevent there was cancelled, but declined to give additional particulars. The EU declined to remark.

FILE Photograph: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the Countrywide Push Club in Washington, DC, U.S., January 12, 2021. Andrew Harnik/Pool through REUTERS/File Photograph

The U.S. Point out Office, in a statement, attributed the cancellation to transition function before Biden will take business on Jan. 20, even if Pompeo had been reluctant till not long ago to unequivocally recognize Biden’s gain. The Point out Department declined further more remark on European officials’ rejection of meetings with Pompeo.

In Brussels, Pompeo was thanks to have a non-public meal with NATO Secretary-Basic Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday night at Stoltenberg’s non-public residence, ahead of conference Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes, whose place is a NATO ally.

Just one of the sources explained the lack of any public occasions at NATO was another reflection of European officers questioning the position of the trip. It was not right away apparent why Pompeo sought to go to Brussels so in close proximity to to the finish of Trump’s term.

Keen TO Make TIES WITH BIDEN

The chilly shoulder was a contrast with Pompeo’s earlier visits to Brussels, which is house to NATO and EU headquarters, around the past three decades, exactly where he has offered keynote speeches on U.S. policy and met the EU’s main govt, even as Europe balked at Trump’s foreign plan.

In 2018, Pompeo claimed in Brussels that Trump’s ‘America First’ plan was reshaping the put up-World War Two program on the foundation of sovereign states, not establishments these kinds of as the EU.

EU officials, who say they had been exhausted by Trump’s unpredictability, are eager to build refreshing ties with Biden.

A single supply, although explaining why Pompeo selected to continue to be in Washington, cited his eagerness to roll out planned foreign policy duties until the end of the phrase and assist keep the continuity of governing administration.

For approximately 3 many years, Pompeo proved a faithful executor of Trump’s unconventional style.

His tenure did not involve apparent successes in such extensive-standing U.S. international coverage issues as reining in the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs, ending the U.S. war in Afghanistan or made up of an increasingly assertive China.

Even so on Jan. 1, Pompeo kicked off a daily Twitter thread, stating the United States was “much safer” today than four years back many thanks to what he saw as the international coverage accomplishments of the Trump administration.

He stated he would showcase the outcomes. “Over the coming days, I’m going to lay out the mission set, the big wins, personal stories, and a ton much more. Just me, Mike,” he said.

The tweets, alongside with some of his foreign visits, have been mostly viewed as section of his bid to lay the groundwork for his significantly-anticipated 2024 run for the Republican nomination for president.

Reporting by Robin Emmott in Brussels and Humeyra Pamuk in Washington Additional reporting by Sabine Siebold in Berlin Editing by Grant McCool and Peter Cooney

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