Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s final abroad journey as prime U.S. diplomat has been canceled, the State Department introduced Tuesday, citing the necessity for him to remain in Washington to arrange for the transition to the Biden administration.
Pompeo was set to journey to Brussels on Wednesday for conferences with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmès, however the State Department referred to as off “all planned travel this week.”
The secretary’s temporary European tour was to initially embrace a cease in Luxembourg however officers from the small NATO nation referred to as off the go to after final week’s pro-Trump riot on the U.S. Capitol, in response to three sources with information of the choice.
In an interview with native outlet RFL on Thursday, Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn referred to as President Donald Trump “a criminal” and “a political pyromaniac who must be put before criminal court.” A spokesperson for the Luxembourg authorities declined to remark.
Asselborn has been deeply important of Trump in current media interviews.Dursun Aydemir / Anadolu Agency through Getty Images file
The State Department’s public announcement of the journey, launched 24 hours earlier than it was pulled down, listed Belgium as Pompeo’s solely vacation spot.
Travel to Belgium by the United States’ prime diplomat would historically contain a gathering with E.U. leaders, as has typically been the case for Pompeo. But no conferences with E.U. officers have been deliberate even earlier than Wednesday’s occasions, in response to two European and two U.S. officers accustomed to the journey planning.
America’s allies have been united in their dismay on the violent scenes on the coronary heart of American democracy, with some world leaders explicitly blaming Trump for inciting his supporters to storm the constructing. Both Stoltenberg and Wilmès described Wednesday’s violent assault on the Capitol as “shocking,” and reiterated the legitimacy of President-elect Joe Biden‘s victory.
But the secretary’s conferences in Brussels have been nonetheless on as of Tuesday morning, the sources stated, with some State Department officers already on the bottom.
By Tuesday afternoon Pompeo had referred to as Stoltenberg to tell him he would not be touring, a NATO official confirmed to NBC News. The official who was not on the decision stated the secretary conveyed the cancellation was as a consequence of needed preparations across the transition.
A visit to Taiwan by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft was additionally referred to as off as part of the State Department’s cancellation of all journey this week.
Craft would have been the primary member of the Trump administration to fulfill with Taiwanese officers after Pompeo removed all restrictions on relations between the U.S. and Taiwan final weekend. That transfer was closely condemned by China, which sees Taiwan as a renegade province that it ought to management.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian warned Pompeo on the time to “stop going further down the wrong and dangerous path” or he would “be harshly punished by history.”
Abigail Williams and Josh Lederman reported from Washington,