By Rabi Ebu Zamil
CAIRO (AA) – The U.S. is pursuing plans to establish a new security alliance of Arab countries aimed at countering Iran’s influence in the Middle East, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday.
In his speech at the American University of Cairo, Pompeo said the Middle East Strategic Alliance, or MESA, would confront the most serious threats in the region and boost energy and economic cooperation.
He said the U.S. will “use diplomacy and work with our partners to expel every last Iranian boot” from Syria and step up efforts to bring peace and stability to the Syrian people.
"America is a force for good in the Middle East," he added.
Pompeo said the alliance would bring together Egypt, Jordan and Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
"Today, we ask each of these countries to take the next step and help us to solidify MESA," he added.
Earlier in the day, Pompeo met with Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry as part of a Middle East tour to reassure America’s allies about U.S. plans to withdraw its troops from Syria.
Pompeo -- who is on his second Middle East tour since assuming office – has visited Jordan, Iraq and Egypt so far and is expected to travel to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait.