U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Thursday for an end to Middle East rivalries to roll back Tehran's influence and vowed to "expel every last Iranian boot" from Syria.
"It's time for old rivalries to end, for the sake of the greater good of the region," Pompeo said in a speech in Cairo during a Middle East tour to reassure allies about U.S. plans to withdraw troops from Syria.
The U.S. "will use diplomacy and work with our partners to expel every last Iranian boot" from Syria and will bolster efforts "to bring peace and stability to the long-suffering Syrian people," he said.
Earlier on Thursday, Pompeo said that a full U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria announced by President Donald Trump last month will go ahead despite widespread criticism.
"President Trump's decision to withdraw our troops has been made. We will do that," Pompeo told a joint press conference in Cairo with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.
Earlier this week, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton laid out conditions for the pullout, including the defeat of the Islamic State group in Syria and guarantees for the safety of Washington's Kurdish allies in the campaign, who have been threatened with an imminent offensive by Turkey.
Bolton's comments were widely seen as backtracking on Trump's announcement.
But Pompeo insisted the two statements were entirely consistent.
"There is no contradiction whatsoever. This is a story made up by the media," said Pompeo, underscoring Washington's continuing commitment to preventing any resurgence by IS.
From Cairo, Pompeo is scheduled to head to the capitals of the six Gulf Arab states to make his case.
Source: National News Agency