PREVIEW - Pompeo To Tour Ukraine, Belarus To Show US Support For Countries' Sovereignty

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 30th January, 2020) US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday embarks on a tour of the former Soviet republics of Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to highlight the United States' commitment to their sovereignty and territorial integrity, according to the State Department.

During his first stop in Kiev, Pompeo will hold talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko and Defense Minister Andriy Zahorodnyuk. Pompeo is also expected to attend a wreath laying ceremony in honor of those killed in the Donbas fratricidal conflict as well as meet with religious, civil society and business community leaders.

Ukraine became the focus of US politics as a result of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, which is based on allegations that he attempted to withhold nearly $400 million in approved military aid for Ukraine in an attempt to pressure Kiev to investigate for corruption 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

Pompeo will then head to Minsk on Saturday to duscuss normalizing bilateral ties during his meetings with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei. Pompeo The Secretary intends to underscore the US commitment to "a sovereign, independent, stable, and prosperous Belarus", according to the State Department release.

The secretary's visit comes amid disputes between Belarus and Russia on various issues, including energy supplies and integration. Lukashenko said earlier that Belarus was in talks with the United States regarding oil deliveries.

During his visit to Minsk last September, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale said the United States was open to ease sanctions and reinstate ambassadors in response to Belarus improving its human rights and democracy record.

Pompeo will then head to Kazakhstan for meetings with President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, former President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi. In the capital Nur-Sultan, Pompeo intends to reaffirm "a shared commitment to peace, prosperity, and security in Central Asia," the State Department said.

Next, the secretary of state will visit Uzbekistan on February 2-3, where he will meet with President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov to discuss reforms implemented in the country. While in Tashkent, Pompeo will also take part in a C5+1 Ministerial with the foreign ministers of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan to stress US support for "a better connected, more prosperous, and more secure Central Asia".

Pompeo's tour was initially planned for early January, but was postponed amid tensions between the United States and Iran.