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Pompeo Cancels Europe Trip Citing Biden Transition After Luxembourg Snub

In a bid to ensure a 'smooth and orderly transition’, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cancelled his trip to Europe at the last minute.

Pompeo

In a bid to ensure a 'smooth and orderly transition’ of Joe Biden taking office on January 20, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cancelled his trip to Europe at the last minute. In a statement, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said this week's planned travel are cancelled. According to a press release issued on January 12, Pompeo, who had refused to recognise Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election, scrapped his trip to Brussels as the State Department is expecting a plan from the incoming administration identifying the career officials who will remain in positions of responsibility on an acting basis until the Senate confirmation process is complete for incoming officials. 

"We are expecting shortly a plan from the incoming administration identifying the career officials who will remain in positions of responsibility on an acting basis until the Senate confirmation process is complete for incoming officials.  As a result, we are cancelling all planned travel this week, including the Secretary’s trip to Europe," according to the statement. 

Even though the official reason remains that Pompeo cancelled the trip to coordinate with the transition team, other top officials have said that the cancellation was because European leaders were critical of Donald Trump’s role in last week’s storming of the Capitol building. The top US official was set to see Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, who had called Trump “criminal” for inciting the attack. Asselborn had described the outgoing US President as a “political pyromaniac who must be brought before a court”. 

Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel had also similar denounce the riots in Washington. He had tweeted saying that the violence against the Capitol is a heinous attack. He added, “We trust in the strength of the American people and institutions to overcome these times of division & look to President-elect @JoeBiden to take on this task”. Further, Belgian deputy PM and foreign minister Sophie Wilmes also called the Capitol siege “shocking”. 

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US ambassador’s trip to Taiwan cancelled 

Meanwhile, apart from Pompeo, the US State Department also cancelled the planned Taiwan visit by its UN ambassador that has drawn strong opposition and a warning from China. The department announced it was cancelling all senior-level overseas travels in a decision to assist with the transition to the next administration. US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft was due to begin a three-day visit Wednesday, which would have involved meetings with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu as well as delivering a speech. 

The State Department insisted that the agency was “well along in its transition efforts with President-elect Biden’s team.  We are fully committed to the completion of a smooth and orderly transition process to be finalized over the next 8 days. Both the Department and the President-elect’s team have been fully engaged for several weeks toward this end, and we are pleased with the level of cooperation and professionalism that has been displayed”. 

(Image: AP) 

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