Pompeo praises Egypt ‘freedoms’ during church and mosque visit

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Mike Pompeo tours the newly inaugurated Al-Fattah Al-Alim mosque, in Egypt's New Administrative Capital. (Reuters)
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Mike Pompeo and his wife Susan pose for photo as they tour the newly inaugurated Al-Fattah Al-Alim mosque. (Reuters)
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Security waits for the departure of Mike Pompeo, after his visit to the newly inaugurated Coptic Orthodox Cathedral of the Nativity Christ, in Egypt's New Administrative Capital. (Reuters)
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The US Secretary of State leaves the newly inaugurated Cathedral of the Nativity Christ, in Egypt's New Administrative Capital. (Reuters)
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A member of the US Diplomatic Security takes a position as Mike Pompeo tours the newly-inaugrated Al-Fattah Al-Alim mosque. (AFP)
Updated 11 January 2019
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Pompeo praises Egypt ‘freedoms’ during church and mosque visit

NEW ADMINISTRATIVE CAPITAL, Egypt: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday praised Egypt’s religious freedoms as he visited a vast cathedral and a mosque in the country’s new capital east of Cairo.
Washington’s top diplomat, who describes himself as an evangelical Christian, is on a tour aimed at reassuring regional US allies after Washington’s shock decision to withdraw US troops from Syria.
On Thursday evening he visited the Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ and the Al-Fattah Al-Alim mosque in Egypt’s New Administrative Capital, 45 kilometers east of the capital.
At the mosque, he praised Egypt’s “freedoms here in this houses of worship, these big, beautiful, gorgeous buildings where the Lord is clearly at work.”
The two buildings were inaugurated by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Sunday, a day after a deadly bomb blast near a church in the country where extremists have repeatedly targeted Christians.
“This is a special country where President El-Sisi clearly made a point by putting this, this largest cathedral in the Middle East here in this place,” Pompeo said, calling the building “a great symbol of hope.”
The cathedral’s inauguration was hailed by US President Donald Trump, who wrote on Twitter that he was “excited to see our friends in Egypt opening the biggest Cathedral in the Middle East.”
“El-Sisi is moving his country to a more inclusive future,” Trump said.


US to send 1,500 more troops to Middle East amid Iran threat

Updated 1 min 35 sec ago
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US to send 1,500 more troops to Middle East amid Iran threat

  • Donald Trump says the additional troops would serve a 'mostly protective' role
  • The US began reinforcing its presence in the Arabian Gulf region earlier this month

WASHINGTON:  Donald Trump said Friday the US will send 1,500 extra troops to the Middle East amid heightened tensions with Iran.

The US president says the troops would have a "mostly protective" role.

Officials said earlier that members of Congress were notified following a White House meeting Thursday to discuss Pentagon proposals to bolster the US force presence in the Middle East.
Earlier this week, officials had said that Pentagon planners had outlined plans that could have sent up to 10,000 military reinforcements to the region. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan later said planners had not settled on a figure.
The US began reinforcing its presence in the Arabian Gulf region this month in response to what it said was a threat from Iran.

More to follow...