Monday, 25 January, 2021

European Union snub Pompeo in final trip, diplomats say

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft speaks during a news conference European official declares Trump a ‘political pyromaniac’ — Pompeo cancels trip: report
Deanna Wagner | 13 January, 2021, 20:27

Pompeo also said that going forward, relations between the executive branches of the USA government and Taiwan will now be handled by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), adding that this change had already been stipulated in the Taiwan Relations Act.

Hours before he was expected to depart, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo canceled his final overseas trip amid a torrent of global criticism against President Donald Trump, including by the USA allies that Pompeo was expected to meet.

The trip was already looking of limited diplomatic value with Pompeo not scheduled to meet any top European Union officials in Brussels.

Pompeo had also planned to stop Thursday in Luxembourg, a small country landlocked by Belgium, France and Germany, but the meeting fell though after the country's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn told RTL Radio that Trump is "a political pyromaniac who must be put before a criminal court".

The trip would have been the latest in a series of high-level visits by Trump administration officials to Taiwan that have drawn the ire of Beijing.

"The Europeans snubbed Washington's top envoy days after the storming of the U.S. Capitol by thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump, an unprecedented attack on American democracy that stunned many world leaders and U.S. allies", Reuters reported Tuesday. In his carefully crafted statements, the top diplomat has avoided criticizing Trump's actions and is instead focusing on how critics are characterizing the events.

Pompeo: Iran harboring al-Qaeda militants
Pompeo added that he was imposing sanctions on Iran-based al-Qaeda leaders and three leaders of al-Qaeda Kurdish battalions. Warnings that outgoing President Donald Trump-who last week incited a right-wing assault on the U.S.

As Trump faces growing calls for his impeachment and removal from office, Pompeo has reportedly become isolated at the State Department. Two cabinet secretaries resigned, citing the violence at the Capitol.

While the United States, like most countries, has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, it is the island's strongest global backer and arms supplier, being obliged to help provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act.

Craft's planned visit to Taiwan came at an acutely perilous time for the self-ruled democracy.

The US switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing in 1979 but it remains Taipei's leading unofficial ally and is bound by Congress to sell the island weapons to defend itself. "What President Trump has been saying about that has been completely wrong, and I unreservedly condemn encouraging people to behave in the disgraceful way that they did in the Capitol".

During his tenure, Trump signed off on some $18 billion in big-ticket arms deals for Taiwan and ramped up the frequency of official visits, including sending a cabinet official previous year, the highest-level delegation since 1979.

"Taiwan doesn't want to create friction with the incoming administration", she told AFP.