Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s final abroad journey as high U.S. diplomat has been canceled, the State Division introduced Tuesday, citing the necessity for him to remain in Washington to arrange for the transition to the Biden administration.
Pompeo was set to journey to Brussels on Wednesday for conferences with NATO Secretary Common Jens Stoltenberg and Belgian Overseas Minister Sophie Wilmès, however the State Division known as off “all deliberate journey this week.”
The secretary’s transient European tour was to initially embody a cease in Luxembourg however officers from the small NATO nation known as off the go to after final week’s pro-Trump riot on the U.S. Capitol, in line with three sources with information of the choice.
In an interview with native outlet RFL on Thursday, Luxembourg Overseas Minister Jean Asselborn known as President Donald Trump “a prison” and “a political pyromaniac who have to be put earlier than prison court docket.” A spokesperson for the Luxembourg authorities declined to remark.
The State Division’s public announcement of the journey, launched 24 hours earlier than it was pulled down, listed Belgium as Pompeo’s solely vacation spot.
Journey to Belgium by america’ high diplomat would historically contain a gathering with E.U. leaders, as has usually been the case for Pompeo. However no conferences with E.U. officers have been deliberate even earlier than Wednesday’s occasions, in line with two European and two U.S. officers accustomed to the journey planning.
America’s allies have been united in their dismay on the violent scenes on the coronary heart of American democracy, with some world leaders explicitly blaming Trump for inciting his supporters to storm the constructing. Each Stoltenberg and Wilmès described Wednesday’s violent assault on the Capitol as “stunning,” and reiterated the legitimacy of President-elect Joe Biden‘s victory.
However the secretary’s conferences in Brussels have been nonetheless on as of Tuesday morning, the sources stated, with some State Division officers already on the bottom.
By Tuesday afternoon Pompeo had known as Stoltenberg to tell him he would not be touring, a NATO official confirmed to NBC Information. The official who was not on the decision stated the secretary conveyed the cancellation was as a consequence of needed preparations across the transition.
A visit to Taiwan by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft was additionally known as off as part of the State Division’s cancellation of all journey this week.
Craft would have been the primary member of the Trump administration to fulfill with Taiwanese officers after Pompeo removed all restrictions on relations between the U.S. and Taiwan final weekend. That transfer was closely condemned by China, which sees Taiwan as a renegade province that it ought to management.
China’s Overseas Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian warned Pompeo on the time to “cease going additional down the fallacious and harmful path” or he would “be harshly punished by historical past.”
Abigail Williams and Josh Lederman reported from Washington, D.C., and Carlo Angerer reported from Munich.