Paris – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed “global challenges” with members of a research institute in Paris, the first leg of a tour of seven countries in Europe and the Middle East that will undoubtedly have its awkward moments as all countries where he will pass have congratulated Joe Biden on his electoral victory.
Pompeo, a nearly invisible envoy on what could be his last official trip to France, tweeted news and photos of his arrival and of his private meeting with members of the Institut Montaigne.
The trip attempts to reinforce the priorities of the outgoing administration of President Donald Trump. Pompeo will visit Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which previous secretaries of state have avoided.RELATED
The head of US diplomacy – along with the president and a good part of the leadership of the Republican Party – have not accepted the results of the election, these unprecedented circumstances will overshadow the discussi ons.
Discreet meetings with civil society, academics and the private sector were scheduled for Saturday, according to a senior State Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Friday that the discussions will cover “difficult issues” such as the situation in Iraq and Iran, terrorism, the Middle East and China.
“At the moment my counterpart is Mike Pompeo until January 20,” Le Drian said on the BFM station, referring to the date when Trump’s term ends. “He comes to Paris, I receive him.”
The meeting will take place on Monday, Le Drian said, hinting that Pompeo will also meet with President Emmanuel Macron. Paris is in the middle of a quarantine to curb the coronavirus.
Macron, who called Biden four days ago to congratulate him, has had a strained relationship with Trump. The two leaders tried to seduce each other with extravagant gestures: Macron had Trump as the guest of honor at a military parade on Bastille Day. But then Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris climate accord, which was a blow to Macron.
The United States also abandoned the nuclear deal with Iran, the result of arduous negotiations, and Pompeo tweeted before starting his tour that the “destabilizing behavior of Iran” would be one of the topics under discussion.