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3 Jan 2020

U.S. secretary of state postpones visit to Belarus

U.S. secretary of state postpones visit to Belarus

MINSK, 3 January (BelTA) - U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has to postpone his visit to Belarus, Anatoly Glaz, Head of the Information and Digital Diplomacy Office, Press Secretary of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told BelTA.

“Due to the ongoing situation around the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo will have to stay in Washington D.C. in the near future. Secretary Pompeo’s trip to Belarus slated for 4 January will be rescheduled. We are discussing a new date for the visit with our American colleagues,” Anatoly Glaz said.

The U.S. Department of State has also informed on Michael Pompeo’s decision to postpone his visits to Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Cyprus.

Michael Pompeo's working visit to Belarus was scheduled for 4 January 2020. Michael Pompeo was set to hold talks at the highest level, to meet with Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei and to hold other events. It was expected that the parties were to review the full range of issues of Belarusian-American relations and the topic of regional security. 

According to TASS, mass protests outside the U.S. embassy in Baghdad began on 31 December in the wake of a US airstrike a day earlier on the Kata'ib Hezbollah facilities near the Iraqi city of al-Qaim in the vicinity of the border with Syria. At least 25 Shia militias died and 50 others were wounded in this attack. U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said the attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad was masterminded by terrorists and Iran’s allies.

According to the Military Times, the United States deployed 100 U.S. Marines, including two Apache helicopters, to reinforce security at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said on 31 December that Washington would deploy 750 soldiers to the region due to the attack on the embassy. On 1 January, the U.S. military used tear gas to disperse demonstrators who had attempted to set the embassy’s roof on fire, according to Al Arabiya TV channel.

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