Log in

Register




SEOUL, June 14, 2018 (News Wires) - Tough sanctions will remain on North Korea until its complete denuclearization, the U.S. secretary of state said on Thursday, apparently contradicting the North’s view that the process agreed at this week’s summit would be phased and reciprocal.

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issued a joint statement after their Singapore meeting that reaffirmed the North’s commitment to “work towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”, an end to joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises and gave U.S. guarantees of security to North Korea.

“President Trump has been incredibly clear about the sequencing of denuclearisation and relief from the sanctions,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters after meeting South Korea’s president and Japan’s foreign minister in Seoul.

“We are going to get complete denuclearisation; only then will there be relief from the sanctions,” he said.

North Korean state media reported on Wednesday Kim and Trump had recognised the principle of “step-by-step and simultaneous action” to achieve peace and denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula.

The summit statement provided no details on when Pyongyang would give up its nuclear weapons program or how the dismantling might be verified.

Skeptics of how much the meeting achieved pointed to the North Korean leadership’s long-held view that nuclear weapons are a bulwark against what it fears are U.S. plans to overthrow it and unite the Korean peninsula.

However, South Korean President Moon Jae-In said the world, through the summit, had escaped the threat of war, echoing Trump’s upbeat assessment of his meeting with Kim.

“There have been many analyses on the outcome of the summit but I think what’s most important was that the people of the world, including those in the United States, Japan and Koreans, have all been able to escape the threat of war, nuclear weapons and missiles,” Moon told Pompeo.

Pompeo insisted Pyongyang was committed to giving up its nuclear arsenal but said it would “be a process, not an easy one”.

Kim Jong Un understood getting rid of his nuclear arsenal needed to be done quickly and there would only be relief from stringent U.N. sanctions on North Korea after its “complete denuclearisation”, Pompeo said.

WASHINGTON, May 14, 2018 (News Wires) - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that Washington would agree to lift sanctions on North Korea if the country agrees to completely dismantle its nuclear weapons programme, a move that would create economic prosperity that "will rival" that of South Korea.

As Pompeo spoke on several Sunday morning talk shows, the Pentagon said three American prisoners freed by North Korea had left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington and been reunited with their families.

President Donald Trump and North Korean's Kim Jong Un

have a planned June 12 meeting in Singapore, the first such encounter between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader.

Pompeo said the United States would not be willing to invest taxpayer dollars to help the country, but was willing to "lift sanctions" to pave the way for private American investment in North Korea’s energy, agriculture and infrastructure sectors.

“What Chairman Kim will get from America is our finest – our entrepreneurs, our risk takers, our capital providers. ... They will get private capital that comes in. North Korea is desperately in need of energy ... for their people. They are in great need of agricultural equipment and technology,” he said on CBS' “Face the Nation.”

“We can create conditions for real economic prosperity for the North Korean people that will rival that of the South,” he added.

North Korean state media reported over the weekend that the country had scheduled the dismantlement of its nuclear bomb site for later in May.

Pompeo welcomed that news.

"Every single site that the North Koreans have that can inflict risk on the American people that is destroyed, eliminated, dismantled is good news for the American people and for the world," he said on "Fox News Sunday."

Riyadh, April 29, 2018 (Wire News) -- Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, in a joint press conference with his American

counterpart in Riyadh on Sunday, stressed on the need to impose further sanctions on Iran.

He pointed out Iran's successive violations and support of Houthi missiles fired from Yemen towards Saudi Arabia.

"We support Trump's policy towards Iran, especially with regard to the nuclear agreement," he said.

For his part, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Iran was the largest state sponsor of terrorism. He stressed that Washington is ready to stand with Saudi Arabia to confront terrorism.

He also said that Iran was destabilizing the region by providing Houthis with weapons in Yemen.

He pointed out that the nuclear agreement failed to modify Iran's behavior that supports violence in Yemen by training and

arming militias.

Pompeo is using the Middle East leg of his first trip abroad as America's top diplomat to call for concerted international action

to punish Iran for its missile programmes. He's also urging Saudi Arabia and its neighbours to resolve a long-festering

dispute with Qatar that US officials say Iran is exploiting to boost its influence in the region, including in Yemen and Syria.

Pompeo was meeting on Sunday with Saudi King Salman. The ex-CIA chief had arrived in Riyadh a day earlier, shortly after

Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen fired missiles at Saudi Arabia's southern city of Jizan, killing one person and

underscoring what US officials said is a growing threat emanating from Iran.

Senior US officials travelling with Pompeo blamed Iran for smuggling the missiles into Yemen. They said the incident

highlighted the importance of the Trump administration's push to counter Iranian supported-aggression in the region.

The officials said Iran's long- and medium-range missile programmes had to be countered as part of efforts to strengthen the

Iran nuclear deal, from which President Donald Trump has threatened to withdraw by mid-May.

The officials said Pompeo would call on other nations to impose tougher sanctions against Iranian people, businesses and

government agencies involved in missile development. They said he'd also stress the US commitment to the defense of

Saudi Arabia, Israel and other friends and partners in the region. Pompeo will also press the Saudis on contributing more to

stabilisation efforts in territory in Syria recently liberated from the Islamic State group, the officials said.

Pompeo's meetings in Saudi Arabia, which will be followed by discussions in Israel and Jordan, come just weeks ahead of

several key dates that have potential to further roil the volatile region.

Trump has set a May 12 deadline to decide whether to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, something he appears likely to do

despite heavy pressure to stay in from European and other parties.


RIYADH, April 28, 2018 (Reuters) - New U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday on the first stop of his hastily-arranged visit to the Middle East as decisions on the Iran nuclear deal and a review of the U.S. role in Syria loom large.

In Riyadh, Pompeo was greeted on the tarmac by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. He is expected to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and King Salman during the visit.

A State Department official said the visit to Riyadh, Jerusalem and Amman just two days after Pompeo was sworn-in as America’s top diplomat was also aimed at forging closer ties with important U.S allies in the Middle East.

Pompeo said on Friday he would discuss the future of the 2015 Iran deal in his talks.

U.S. President Donald Trump has called the nuclear agreement the “worst deal ever” and threatened to reimpose sanctions against Iran unless European allies Britain, France and Germany agree to fix it. Resuming sanctions would likely kill the deal.

Russia, China, Germany, Britain and France, which all struck the accord with Iran and the United States, see the deal as the best way to stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.

Speaking after a NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels on Friday, Pompeo said Trump had not taken a decision on whether to abandon the deal but was not likely to stick to it without substantial changes.

“There’s been no decision, so the team is working and I am sure we will have lots of conversations to deliver what the president has made clear,” Pompeo told a news conference.

Earlier this week French President Emmanuel Macron called on the United States not to abandon the deal, although later he acknowledged he thought Trump would pull out, based on his long opposition to it.

The Trump administration is also currently reviewing the U.S.’s role in fighting Islamic State in Syria’s seven-year conflict. Trump has also called on Gulf countries to provide funding and troops to stabilize areas once controlled by the group in Syria.

Pompeo was one of the first Trump administration officials to visit Saudi Arabia early in his tenure as CIA director.

BRUSSELS, April 27, 2018 (AP) — Less than 24 hours after assuming his post, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plunged Friday into NATO diplomacy as the allies sought to toughen their response to Russian interference on its periphery and elsewhere.

On his first overseas trip as America's top diplomat, Pompeo hit the ground running with a series of meetings at NATO headquarters in Brussels aimed at underscoring the alliance's relevance in a crisis-filled global environment that includes persistent or worsening conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine.

"The work that's being done here today is invaluable and our objectives are important and this mission means a lot to the United States of America," Pompeo told NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. "The president very much wanted me to get here and I'm glad we were able to make it, and I look forward to a productive visit here today."

Pompeo's aim is to ensure that NATO maintains a unified position of "no business as usual" with Russia until it implements an agreement to end violence in eastern Ukraine and halts destabilizing actions for which it is blamed elsewhere, according to a senior U.S. official.

Those include the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in Britain last month, support for Syrian President Bashar Assad's government that is accused on launching a chemical weapons attack that led three NATO members — Britain, France and the U.S. — to launch airstrikes on Syrian targets.

At a breakfast meeting focused on Russia, NATO foreign ministers agreed on "the scale of Russian aggression" and that it "requires a response," according to the U.S. official, who was not authorized to discuss the closed-door meeting publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

"We are in a situation where we've not been before," Stoltenberg said after the meeting. "We're not in the old Cold War, but we're neither in the strategic partnership we were trying to build after the Cold War. So this is something new. Therefore it's even more important that we are able to combine, both to be strong and to have a clear position of unity in our approach to Russia but at the same time to keep the channels for dialogue open."

Friday's meetings will set the stage for a summit of NATO leaders in July at which they are expected to outline more specifics about the response to Russia. The alliance has been trying to hold a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council, which has not met since October 2017, before the July 11-12 summit but has been unable to arrange it.

Another of Pompeo's objectives in Brussels is to prod allies, particularly Germany, to meet their commitments to spend 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense by 2024, according to the official.

That commitment was made in 2014 and thus far only six of the 28 countries who made the pledge meet the goal. Nine have produced realistic plans for reaching it by 2024, but the rest, including Germany, have not.

That spending level, frequently incorrectly referred to by U.S. President Donald Trump as a contribution to NATO itself, is particularly important given the allies' need to combat increased Russian aggression, according to the official.

The official said the U.S. delegation would make the point that NATO is more relevant today that at any point since the end of the Cold War.

Pompeo will also have separate talks with the foreign ministers of Italy and Turkey. Relations with the latter are notably strained. The senior official said one of Pompeo's main goals with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is to refocus on coordination in northern Syria, where Turkey has been attacking Kurdish rebels supported by the U.S.

That coordination was started by Pompeo's predecessor, Rex Tillerson, who was fired by Trump last month, and had languished in the absence of a new secretary of state.

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 Russia.

From Brussels, Pompeo will travel on to the Middle East, visiting Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan, where the future of the Iran nuclear deal and the conflict in Syria will be significant agenda items, officials said.

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 U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem two days later. The embassy move is deeply opposed by the Palestinians, who on May 15 will mark the anniversary of what they term the "nabka," or catastrophe, when they fled or were driven from their homes during the 1948 Palestine war.

Looming over Pompeo's trip is uncertainty over Trump's policy on Syria, which has shifted between a speedy all-out withdrawal of American forces from the country and leaving a lasting footprint to deter Iran from completing a land bridge from Tehran to Beirut.