Washington (AFP) – After refusing to acknowledge President Donald Trump’s loss in last week’s electionSecretary of State Mike Pompeo is leaving Friday on a trip to Europe and the Middle East, to countries whose leaders have all congratulated former Vice President Joe Biden on his victory.
The seven-nation trip aims to support the priorities of the outgoing Trump administration, particularly its anti-China and Iran policies, and will include visits to Israeli settlements in the West Bank that former foreign ministers have shunned.
But the extraordinary moment in world politics is likely to overshadow the usual foreign policy issues: Much of the world has accepted the results of the US elections, while the top diplomat is in the US – as well as its president and much of his Republican party. – he does not have.
Pompeo’s trip came days after he raised eyebrows by refusing to ask a reporter On the presidential transition, he said, “There will be a smooth transition to the Trump administration again.” He seemed to be speaking in jest and continued to say in a more serious tone that the world should be reassured that the State Department would be effective and successful with the president taking office on January 20. But those comments and subsequent statements in interviews with conservative media did not acknowledge Biden who would become president at the time.
Pompeo’s week-long tour included France, Turkey, Georgia, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. The leaders of each of these countries extended public congratulations to Biden.
Four of those countries – France, Turkey, Georgia and Qatar – have a fractured relationship with the Trump administration and it was not clear if Pompeo would make public contact with any of its leaders. Pompeo’s relationship with the press has been lukewarm, and it is not clear if he plans to take questions from the reporters.
The administration’s relations with Turkey have been particularly strained after a NATO ally purchased a Russian missile defense system, and Pompeo’s stopover in Istanbul will not include meetings with Turkish officials. Instead, Pompeo will meet with religious leaders to highlight his promotion of religious freedom.
Palestinian officials, rejected by the Trump administration, condemned Pompeo’s plans to visit the Psagot settlement in the West Bank. “This is a dangerous precedent that legitimizes settlements (and) a blow to international legitimacy / UN resolutions,” Palestinian Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh said on Twitter on Friday.
In line with Trump’s refusal to compromise And cabinet agencies’ orders not to cooperate with Biden’s transition team, the State Department was not involved in facilitating Biden’s calls to foreign leaders.According to officials familiar with the operation.
Pompeo’s strong support for Trump, who claimed without evidence That the elections were fraught with fraud, threatening to damage America’s standing in issuing statements about democratic deficiencies in other countries.
On Thursday, Pompeo threw his weight on the Hong Kong legislature, and in recent weeks he has denounced the alleged electoral woes in Belarus, Tanzania and Ivory Coast. On Friday, he congratulated the Caribbean State of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on their recent elections.
However, at his press conference on Tuesday, Pompeo categorically rejected a question about whether Trump’s groundless protests have created credibility problems for the United States. He answered, “You asked a silly question.” “This section takes great care to make sure that elections around the world are safe, secure, free and fair, and our officers are risking their lives to ensure that happens.”
Biden has already spoken to leaders of Australia, Canada, Japan and South Korea and made congratulatory notes on social media and elsewhere from others.
Even so, Pompeo said he would continue as if there was no change.
He said, “I am the foreign minister.” “I’m getting calls from all over the world. These people are watching our elections. They understand that we have a legal process. They understand that this takes time.”