A US Department of State official said Sunday that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has cancelled his trip to Moscow but will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Sochi, according to Reuters.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Monday that she expects to hold a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later in the day in Brussels. According to her, Pompeo will hold talks with the foreign ministers of EU member states as well as delegations from the six member states of the Eastern Partnership initiative.
“We were told during the night that he was going to change his travel plans and have a stopover here in Brussels. He is expected, I think, to land in the late morning. We will be here all day, with a busy agenda, so we will see during the day how and if we manage to arrange a meeting. He is always welcome, obviously, but there are no precise plans at the moment”, Mogherini stressed.
Previously, Reuters, reported, citing a US State Department official on condition of anonymity that Pompeo will participate in talks with European officials on Iran in Brussels on Monday before heading to Russia, where he is slated to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Sochi on 14 May.
The upcoming visit to Russia will be the first of its kind for the US secretary of state. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Pompeo and Lavrov are expected to discuss bilateral relations and relevant international problems, including the situation in Syria, Ukraine, and Venezuela. They may also touch upon the Korean question.
On Wednesday, one year after the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, Tehran announced that it had discontinued some of its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and gave the other parties 60 days to ensure Iran’s interests were protected or else the country will resume enriching uranium at higher levels.
Tensions between the US and Iran have been escalating in recent days. Over the weekend the Pentagon deployed an aircraft carrier strike group and bomber task force to the Persian Gulf in what a senior administration official called a “clear and unmistakable” message to the Islamic Republic.
Pompeo said in a statement on Thursday that Washington was ready to hit back fast and hard in retaliatory strikes against any attacks carried out by Iran or its front-groups and allies.
However, Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh said Sunday that the US aircraft carrier sent to the Middle East does not pose a threat to Iran and now represents only a target.