Pompeo arrives in Oman to discuss Iran, peace with Israel

The US is ready to assist in the normalization of ties between Bahrain and Israel if needed.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visiting Sudan, 2020. (photo credit: SOVEREIGN COUNCIL MEDIA OFFICE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visiting Sudan, 2020.
(photo credit: SOVEREIGN COUNCIL MEDIA OFFICE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Oman on Thursday as part of a Middle East tour following a US-brokered deal on normalizing relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced on Aug. 13.
Pompeo discussed regional peace and stability with Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al-Said in Oman.
In a tweet after the meeting  Pompeo said the two discussion the importance of building regional peace, stability and prosperity through a united Gulf Cooperation Council. Grateful for our strong security partnership and economic ties.”
The GCC is made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Pompeo in Oman on Thursday as part of a Middle East tour following a US-brokered deal on normalizing relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced on Aug. 13.
Before arriving in Oman, Pompeo visited Jerusalem, Sudan, Bahrain, and the UAE. Normalization of ties with Israel and the joint Iranian threat have been on his agenda.
In Bahrain on Wednesday, Pompeo discussed ways to combat the Iranian threat, including its ballistic missile, with the country’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, but failed to secure from him an agreement to normalize ties with Israel as the UAE had done.
The US is ready to assist in the normalization of ties between Bahrain and Israel if needed, a senior US State Department official said during the Bahrain leg of the trip.
"If we can help facilitate normalization with Bahrain we're ready," the official said.
Pompeo said it was vital to seize the momentum of the deal. Israel and the US have said they are pushing more Arab countries to follow the UAE's path. Israel's Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen has mentioned Bahrain as a possible candidate.
"I think that UAE's decision creates a climate that makes it easier for another country to follow, and more countries after that," the state department official on the tour said.
Bahrain welcomed the UAE-Israel accord soon after it was announced and said it raised the chances of peace.
The small island state of Bahrain houses the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, the US Naval Forces Central Command (USNAVCENT) and a British naval support facility. The International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC), formed in 2019 to protect commercial shipping in the Gulf after a series of tanker attacks, is also based in Bahrain.
Khalifa said he welcomed US efforts towards the Israel-UAE accord, noting "the importance of re-doubling efforts to realize a just solution which utilizes peace as a strategic option to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict," state news agency BNA said.
PLO Executive Committee Secretary-General Saeb Erekat tweeted in appreciation of Bahrain’s comments during their meeting with Pompeo in support of making peace between Israel and the Palestinians first, before normalizing ties with the Arab world. It also held to the idea of a two-state solution at the pre-1967 lines with east Jerusalem as its capital.
The Trump administration peace plan does not hold by the pre-1967 lines.
“We highly appreciate the position of H.M. King Hamad Bin Issa Al Khalifa of Bahrain. We hope that mr. Pompeo will use his hearing skills . End the occupation then normalization,” Erekat tweeted.