Baghdad embassy attack prompts Pompeo to delay Central Asia trip

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The Baghdad embassy attack and its volatile aftermath has prompted U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to postpone his trip to Central Asia's nations.

The C5+1 Ministerial Meeting and a meeting of the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin that was supposed to be held in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent on January 6 are postponed to later date, a source within Tajikistan's diplomatic circles told Asia-Plus in an interview.

U.S. media reports say Secretary of State Mike Pompeo postponed a planned trip to Ukraine and Central Asia to deal with the ongoing developments out of Baghdad.

Secretary Pompeo must postpone his visit to Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Cyprus due to the need for the Secretary to be in Washington, D.C., to continue monitoring the ongoing situation in Iraq and ensure the safety and security of Americans in the Middle East. Secretary Pompeo's trip will be rescheduled in the near future and he looks forward to the visit at that time, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement on Wednesday, according to CNN.

Meanwhile, according to The Diplomat, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was to travel to Nur-Sultan, the Kazakh capital, from Minsk on January 4. Pompeo was supposed to meet with President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, First President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tleuberdi on January 5.

He was then to travel to the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, to meet with President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov. He was then supposed to participate in a C5+1 Ministerial with the foreign ministers of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

The Diplomat says that in a special briefing, a senior State Department official outlined the contours for the secretary's visit. The official emphasizes U.S. commitment to the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the countries of Central Asia. Such language comes up repeatedly when discussing the region with American officials. The subtext is that the region's other partners � Russia and China � are less respecting of that particular trifecta.

The United States is committed to improving Kazakhstan's and Uzbekistan's connections to the global economy so they do not become dependent on any one country for trade and development, the official said. We believe that Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan should have the freedom to pursue their national interests, to choose from a variety of partners and to align themselves politically, economically, and militarily on their own terms.

Source: Asia plus