US committed to ‘de-escalation’ with Iran: Pompeo to Pak, China

By Arul Louis
Los Angeles, Jan 3 (IANS) US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Pakistan’s army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa and several other leaders that Washington remained committed to de-escalation of tensions with Iran, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said on Friday.

Pompeo, who was making a lightning round of phone calls to leaders, discussed President Donald Trump’s decision to kill Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian general who led the Quds Force, Ortagus said.

The Secretary of State appeared to have bypassed Prime Minister Imran Khan and the civilian leadership to deal directly with the military.

Former Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani also received calls from Pompeo, Ortagus said.

He also told Yang, who is now a member of the Politburo and functions as a pointsman on relations with Washington, that the US was committed to de-escalation, according to Ortagus.

She said Pompeo told all three of them that the US took “defensive action by killing Qasem Soleimani in response to imminent threats to American lives” and “underscored the Iranian regime’s destabilising actions through the region.”

Others on his calling list included British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Ortagus said.

(Arul Louis can be contacted at arul.l@ians.in and followed on Twitter @arulouis)

–IANS
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