Top U.S. diplomat calls for Gulf unity as bitter row drags on

U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, on Wednesday pushed for unity among Gulf allies to counter Iran amid years-long diplomatic row and Washington’s efforts to encourage more Arab countries to normalise ties with Israel.

Pompeo is currently on a Middle East tour that comes after the UAE and Israel reached a U.S.-brokered deal to establish formal diplomatic ties.

The trip also takes him to the UAE.

Earlier, Pompeo held talks in Bahrain, a small Gulf nation allied with the U.S. and an adversary of Iran.

He met Bahraini King Hamad Bin-Isa and his son, Crown Prince Salman, separately.

Pompeo, after meeting with Bin-Isa, said: “We remain committed to building peace and security to advance greater unity among Gulf countries and counter the threat from Iran’’.

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting and funding terrorists, a charge that Doha denied.

Bahrain’s State News Agency BNA, said during Pompeo’s meeting with Bin-Isa, stressed the need for establishing peace and security in the Middle East and confronts Iranian interference in the region’s affairs.

“There should be intensified efforts to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict according to the two-state solution,’’ BNA said.

The agency added that the Bahraini monarch also backed a 2002 Arab peace initiative, which offers Israel peace and full diplomatic relations if an independent Palestinian state is established with East Jerusalem as its capital.

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