Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Discusses Regional Developments with Pompeo, Esper
Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman held talks on Monday with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and later Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.
In a tweet on Tuesday, he said he discussed with Pompeo events in the region, along with efforts to maintain regional and international peace and stability.
The meeting comes after the killing of a top Iranian military commander, Qassem Soleimani, in a US drone strike on Friday at Baghdad airport that has sparked a major escalation of regional tensions.
State Department officials said talks focused on how to de-escalate tensions in the region and prevent a military confrontation in the Gulf. They emphasized resorting to diplomatic means with the international community to clarify the dangers of the eruption of another war in the region in wake of Soleimani’s killing.
Prince Khalid and Pompeo also addressed American military plans to secure American embassies and interests in the region.
Prince Khalid stressed Saudi Arabia’s call for restraint and avoiding tensions, thwarting any provocative measures that Tehran may take against the Kingdom and also urging Iran to cease its meddling in the affairs of regional countries.
Discussions also covered the developments in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen.
A State Department official told Asharq Al-Awsat that Washington’s stance is clear in “confronting Iran’s provocations.”
“The Trump administration will not hesitate in responding quickly and decisively to any Iranian threats to protect American interests and friends and allies in the Middle East,” he added. He urged Iran to “act like a normal country.”
The American administration supports the people of Iran and their demand for a dignified and free life, he stressed.
Talks with Esper focused on mutual challenges faced by Saudi Arabia and the US, tweeted Prince Khalid.
He also emphasized the importance of both countries’ ongoing military cooperation as it serves regional and international security.