Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Saudi Arabia on Monday in the first stop of a trip to the Gulf region to build a “global coalition” on Iran and express support for the security of Saudi Arabia.
Pompeo held two separate meetings with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, photos show. Pompeo called the United States and the United Arab Emirates “two great allies in the challenge that Iran presents, and we’ll be talking with them about how to make sure that we are all strategically aligned and how we can build out a global coalition.”
The visit comes amid heightened tensions with Iran, who support the Houthi rebels in Yemen that have claimed recent attacks into Saudi territory, and is suspected of being behind recent attacks on oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz. Iran also recently shot down an unmanned U.S. drone near that Iran claims had violated its airspace, but the United States claims it was over international waters.
Pompeo said in a tweet that he had had a “productive meeting” with King Salman “to discuss heightened tensions in the region and the need to promote maritime security in the strait of Hormuz.”
“Freedom of navigation is paramount,” he added.
Before leaving Saudi Arabia, Pompeo and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman dined at a popup restaurant, photos and video from the restaurant Instagram’s account show.
The restaurant, a popup Nobu, the international high-end Japanese restaurant, is open for a limited time in the Jeddah Corniche. A Nobu hotel is planned for Riyadh.
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ولي العهد صاحب السمو الملكي محمد بن سلمان بن عبدالعزيز آل سعود مع الشيف يانك من نوبو دبي، و الشيف السعودية لمى الجحدلي في مطعم نوبو جدة الموسمي #محمد_بن_سلمان_في_كورنيش_جده Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia HRH Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud with Nobu Dubai’s Chef Yannick and Saudi Chef Lama Al Jahdali at Nobu Jeddah Pop-up. #jeddahseason #nobujeddah #nobu
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The secretary’s trip continued today to a visit to top regional ally of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates.