Pompeo kicks off Mideast leg of first trip as top USA envoy

Pompeo called on all NATO allies to meet the target of 2 percent of GDP expenditures on defense | John Thys  AFP via Getty Images

Pompeo called on all NATO allies to meet the target of 2 percent of GDP expenditures on defense | John Thys AFP via Getty Images

As Saudi Arabia considers digging a moat along its border with Qatar and dumping nuclear waste nearby, USA secretary of state Mike Pompeo arrived in Riyadh on his first overseas trip as the nation's top diplomat with a simple message: enough is enough.

Pompeo was meeting on Sunday with Saudi King Salman, whose country along with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates is embroiled in a row with Qatar that had hobbled Gulf Arab unity and frustrated the U.S.as it seeks to blunt growing Iranian assertiveness.

Pompeo is on a state visit to Saudi Arabia, the first leg of his Middle East tour.

President Donald Trump has set a May 12 deadline to decide whether to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal - something he appears likely to do despite heavy pressure to stay in from European and other parties.

Senior U.S. officials traveling with Pompeo blamed Iran for smuggling the missiles into Yemen.

Netanyahu has also warned that his country will not accept Iran entrenching itself militarily in neighbouring Syria, where Tehran backs President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Potential talks with North Korea about Pyongyang abandoning its nuclear weapons were expected to be an incentive for Trump to remain in the Iran deal, so as not to make Kim distrustful of USA intentions. They said the incident highlighted the importance of the Trump administration's push to counter Iranian supported-aggression in the region. "Iran destabilises this entire region", Pompeo said at a joint press conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir.

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia has been leading a coalition of Gulf states against the Houthi rebels in Northern Yemen, after the rebels drove out the US-backed and pro-Saudi government.

"They committed to continue working closely together and with the US on how to tackle the range of challenges that Iran poses - including those issues that a new deal might cover", a statement from May's office said. "But if a deal can not be reached, the (U.S.) president has said that he will leave that deal".

"The nuclear deal or any other subject under its pretext is not negotiable in any way", he told French President Emmanuel Macron in a phone call, quoted by the presidency's website. The accord provides Iran with sanctions relief in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

Britain, France and Germany all remain committed to the deal, saying it is the best way to keep Tehran from getting the bomb. "In fact, Iran has only behaved worse since deal was approved", Pompeo said.

Jubeir said Riyadh supports "efforts aimed at improving the nuclear deal" and called for further sanctions against Iran for its "violations of global decisions on ballistic missiles, its support for terrorism and its interference in the affairs of countries in the region".

In Washington, National Security Advisor John Bolton also said Trump was still considering his options.

The US State Department spokeswoman said Saturday that Saudi Arabia has an important leadership role in working towards a peaceful and prosperous future in the region, saying that the United States and Saudi Arabia are working to achieve this goal for the region.

They said he'd also stress the US commitment to the defense of Saudi Arabia, Israel and other friends and partners in the region.

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