Pompeo vows to confront Russian Federation, fix Iran nuclear deal

Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo leaves a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington on Monday. He testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday

The former congressman from Wichita, Kansas, denied he had ever advocated regime change in North Korea. Keith Ellison and André Carson called on leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to oppose the confirmation of Pompeo as secretary of state, citing his "history of anti-Muslim sentiment and discrimination". "I stand by that", Pompeo replied, referring to his opposition to same-sex marriage.

"I think it's fair for our members to ask whether your relationship is rooted in a candid, healthy, give-and-take dynamic or whether it's based on deferential willingness to go along to get along", said the Tennessee Republican, who has famously feuded with Trump.

Ren said that unlike Tillerson, Pompeo was chosen by Trump because he was identified as a Trump loyalist, and his confirmation would have little impact on the overall direction the United States president has laid out for the administration's policy on China.

Pompeo also said the United States should continue to provide Ukraine with defensive weapons and that sanctions should remain imposed on Russian Federation until Moscow fully complies with the Minsk agreement.

Pompeo acknowledged he had been interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose federal probe includes looking into whether there was collusion between Moscow and Trump's campaign.

USA relations with Russia have further deteriorated recently due to the "poisoning attack" of an ex-Russian spy, the following expulsion of Russian diplomats and various sanctions imposed under different charges. Pompeo has served as CIA Director since January 23, 2017.

Pompeo replied, "My instincts tell me no".

A South Korean diplomat said Chung had a "very useful" meeting with Bolton on preparations for South Korean President Moon Jae-in's scheduled April 27 summit with Kim Jong Un and the planned Trump-Kim meeting, but gave no details. "We need to push back in each place and in every vector", Pompeo said.

The future secretary of state argued that to achieve this point, America needs to continue the effort it has undertaken.

Pompeo said at the Aspen Institute last July that the administration's priority is to separate Kim from the nuclear weapons he controls.

"If confirmed, it will be an immediate personal priority to work with those partners to see if such a fix is achievable", Pompeo said of European partners plus Russian Federation and China who also signed the Iran deal.

He brushed aside concerns that the administration's moves to modify a nuclear deal with Iran could make an agreement with North Korea more hard.

Pompeo did not elaborate on what exactly it is.

National Iranian American Council Executive Director Jamal Abdi warned in a press release that it was clear that a vote for Pompeo was a vote for killing the Iran nuclear deal and putting Washington and Teheran on a war path. A year after it was signed, he wrote that while the deal prevents Iran from developing nuclear weapons for a few years, provisions in the deal that allow Iran to produce nuclear fuel on an industrial-scale in the future means that eventually it will be able to develop nuclear weapons.

Pompeo, who now serves as Central Intelligence Agency chief, told the hearing that the summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, planned for May or early June, would lay the foundations for denuclearising the North.

More recently, Pompeo told CBS News that while Obama didn't want to upset Iran during the nuclear negotiations, the situation now is different. "It's more than a duty, it's an opportunity, when someone from a faith can get characterised", Mr. Pompeo said.

Pompeo does not respect the basic precepts of the Constitution, including the First Amendment, which provides that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the panel, said that the White House should propose a new nominee if Pompeo falls short of the votes on the committee.

He added that the USA has fewer Americans in Syria today than it did earlier in the US campaign to defeat the Islamic State who had seized large swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq in 2014.

"We're all cautiously optimistic that we may be on the right path for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula", he told the House of Representative Armed Services Committee.



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