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Pompeo vows to expel 'every last Iranian boot' from Syria

AFP  |  Cairo 

US vowed Thursday the and its allies would chase all Iranian troops from Syria, and urged nations to forge a common stand against

"It's time for old rivalries to end, for the sake of the greater good of the region," said at a keynote address in

"will use diplomacy and work with our partners to expel every last Iranian boot" from and bolster efforts "to bring peace and stability to the long-suffering Syrian people," he added.

The top US was in on the latest leg of a whistle-stop regional tour aimed at shoring up Washington's policy following Donald Trump's shock decision to withdraw 2,000 US troops from

stressed the pullout would go ahead, despite comments in recent weeks appearing to walk back Trump's decision, but that the US would remain engaged.

The "decision to withdraw our troops has been made. We will do that. We will withdraw our forces, our uniformed forces, from and continue America's crushing campaign," Pompeo told reporters at a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart

He also met earlier with Egyptian Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, after arriving in late Wednesday on his longest trip since taking office last year which has already taken him to Jordan, and the Iraqi Kurdish regional capital Arbil.

In his address entitled "for Good: Reinvigorated in the Middle East" at the in Cairo, Pompeo also took aim at former without naming him.

Trump's predecessor had "grossly underestimated the tenacity and viciousness of radical Islamism," Pompeo said.

And parroting Obama's words in his landmark 2009 speech in Cairo, Pompeo vowed that now was really "a new beginning" in ties between the US and the

Pompeo's tour is aimed at urging regional allies to continue to confront the "significant threats" posed by and jihadists. Even though Islamic State group jihadists have been largely eradicated from Iraq, after capturing a vast swathe of territory in 2014, some still control a few pockets in war-torn Syria.

Pompeo will also visit Gulf countries including Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, and As he arrived in Egypt, the State Department described the country as a "steadfast partner in the anti-terror fight, and a courageous voice in denouncing the radical Islamist ideology that fuels it".

But there are rising concerns that US policy is getting bogged down. A long-promised Trump plan for a peace deal between and has so far failed to materialise. And many of the Trump administration's decisions have stoked confusion and angered many regional allies.

"By most accounts, Trump's Middle East policy has made a messy Middle East even messier," Aaron David Miller, a former US and now an at the Wilson Center, said on

"A risk averse president who makes new policy by tweet or phone call surrounded by risk-ready advisers who run cleanup, don't respect deliberation and have objectives that aren't clear or attainable equals US policy (or lack of it) in Syria."

and the are now at loggerheads over the future of Syrian Kurdish forces, considered by as "terrorists", after the troop pullout.

Turkish officials had a tense meeting this week with Trump's in aimed at coordinating the pullout process after Bolton set conditions that appeared to postpone it indefinitely.

The terms included total defeat of IS -- still active in some Syrian regions -- and ensuring that Kurdish fighters who fought alongside the Americans against the jihadists will be protected. On Thursday, renewed its threat to launch an offensive against Kurds.

"If the (pullout) is put off with ridiculous excuses like Turks are massacring Kurds, which do not reflect the reality, we will implement this decision," Turkish told television.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, January 10 2019. 21:55 IST