U.S. secretary of state to visit 5 European nations

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-08 11:50:41|Editor: Chengcheng
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Belgium and Iceland to discuss bilateral ties and international issues, U.S. State Department said here on Thursday.

According to a press statement issued by Robert Palladino, deputy spokesperson of the State Department, Pompeo will travel to Budapest, Bratislava, Warsaw, Brussels and Reykjavik on Feb. 11-15.

On Feb. 12, Pompeo will meet with his Polish counterpart in Warsaw, where the United States will co-host with Poland the "Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East," according to the statement.

The State Department said on Jan. 11 that the ministerial meeting on the Middle East issue would be held to address a range of critical issues including terrorism and extremism, missile development and proliferation, maritime trade and security, and threats posed by proxy groups across the region.

The meeting would "focus on Middle East stability and peace and freedom and security here in this region, and that includes an important element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilizing influence," Pompeo said in an interview earlier.

In his second State of the Union (SOTU) address made on Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump also blasted Iran by accusing Tehran as "the world's leading state sponsor of terror" and "a radical regime."

In response, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted hours later that "Iranians... are commemorating 40 yrs of progress despite US pressure, just as @realDonaldTrump again makes accusations against us @ #SOTU2019."

"U.S. hostility has led it to support dictators, butchers & extremists, who've only brought ruin to our region," he added.

In January, Pompeo conducted an eight-day trip to Middle East amid rising uncertainty and complexity in the region following the White House's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.