US Secretary Pompeo ends Mideast tour without a single country agreeing to normalisation with Israel

Pompeo has on multiple occasions said he is hopeful other nations will follow the lead of the UAE.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Reuters)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo headed home on Thursday, marking the end of a Middle East tour aimed at pressing other Arab countries to follow the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) recent move and normalize relations with Israel.

The tour was less than successful, however, as stops in Bahrain, Oman, and Sudan failed to produce any public commitments to mend relations with Israel, following the UAE’s decision to do so earlier this month.

US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo (L), with Bahrain’s Crown Prince, Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa (R), in the capital Manama. (Photo: AFP)

While Bahrain and Sudan have stated implicitly that they do not plan on following the UAE’s lead regarding Israel, Oman, one of the more neutral players in the Gulf, did not immediately comment on the subject after Pompeo’s visit.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) is welcomed by a Sudanese official in Khartoum, Sudan on August 25, 2020. (AFP)

The official Oman News Agency did say that during the meeting, “aspects of the existing bilateral cooperation between the sultanate and the United States were reviewed within the framework of the strong relations that bind them,” AFP reported.

Oman has long had a dialogue with Israel and welcomed the UAE’s 13 August announcement, while at the same time reaffirming its support for Palestine.

Pompeo adds visit to Oman to Middle East, Africa tour | The Times of Israel
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, meets with Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tarik Al Said, at al-Alam palace in the Omani capital of Muscat, February 21, 2020. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via AP)

Pompeo has on multiple occasions said he is hopeful other nations will follow the lead of the UAE, which became the third Arab country to establish relations with Israel after Egypt and Jordan.

Still, Sudan’s transitional government on Tuesday dashed hopes for a speedy breakthrough, saying it has “no mandate” to take such a weighty step.

Bahrain echoed the sentiments of its ally and regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia, saying that accord with Israel would not materialize without the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

While not visited by Pompeo, Morrocco has also announced that it would not consider normalizing relations with Israel.

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