Mike Pompeo visited Saudi Arabia on Sunday during his first foreign trip just few hours after he was confirmed as US Secretary of State. As he arrived in Riyadh, the message conveyed to the traveling press with him was simple and stern: the kingdom must end its dispute with Qatar in order to form a united front against Iran in the Gulf.
But as he stood next to his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir at the royal terminal of King Khalid International Airport, Pompeo used a softer tone and ended his remarks by saying “Gulf unity is necessary and we need to achieve it” without elaborating on the issue. The two officials did not take any questions and the US top diplomat soon boarded his plane heading to Israel.
It remains unclear how much pressure the US is planning or willing to apply on their Gulf allies to end the rift. “We are hopeful that they will, in their own way, figure out how to remove the dispute between them,” Pompeo told reporters after leaving Riyadh. A proposed GCC summit in Camp David has been pushed from April to September as the Trump administration shifted its focus to the talks with North Korea.