US hopeful world will accept extension of UN arms embargo on Iran

US hopeful world will accept extension of UN arms embargo on Iran
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a press conference at the State Department, Wednesday, June 24, 2020 in Washington, as State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus looks on, left. (Pool via AP)
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Updated 24 June 2020

US hopeful world will accept extension of UN arms embargo on Iran

US hopeful world will accept extension of UN arms embargo on Iran
  • Pompeo: ‘Washington was willing to talk to Tehran when the time was right’
  • Pompeo also said Israel has the US green light to annex Palestinian land

WASHINGTON: The United States is hopeful the entire world will understand the need to extend a UN arms embargo on Iran and said Washington was willing to talk to Tehran when the time was right, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday.
“I am hopeful that the whole world will accept the proposition that this arms embargo needs to be extended,” Pompeo told reporters. “I think all but a couple of nations understand that this should not expire and there is going to be a discussion about how it is that we extend it.” 
Pompeo also said that Israel had the US green light to annex Palestinian land, amid wide criticism of the Jewish state’s plans.
“Decisions about Israelis extending sovereignty to those places are decisions for the Israelis to make,” Pompeo said.
“We are talking to all of the countries in the region about how it is we can manage this process for our end-state objective,” he said.
He was speaking moments after the United Nations and the Arab League, during a UN Security Council session, joined in calling for Israel to abandon its plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
Arab states, notably US ally Jordan, have voiced alarm at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s indication that he will move ahead as soon as next week to annex much of the occupied West Bank, saying that it would kill prospects for peace.
But Pompeo said that both Netanyahu and Gulf states backed a Middle East plan unveiled in January by President Donald Trump, which gives the blessing to Israel for annexation and allows for a demilitarized Palestinian state.
“I regret only that the Palestinian Authority has refused to participate in that,” Pompeo said.
“I remain hopeful that in the coming weeks, we can begin to make real progress toward achieving that,” he said of Trump’s plan.
On Lebanon, Pompeo said Washington was prepared to support the Lebanese government if it carries out real reforms and operates in a way that is not “beholden to” the militant Lebanese movement Hezbollah.
He added that if the Lebanese government demonstrates its willingness to take such actions the US and the whole world would assist in getting its economy “back on its feet.” 
Lebanon is grappling with an acute financial crisis seen as the biggest threat to its stability since the 1975-90 civil war. 
Meanwhile, he also said the US was working with countries in Europe and elsewhere on how to reopen for travel safely following coronavirus-linked shutdowns, after details emerged of EU criteria that could keep out Americans due to high rates of coronavirus infections.
“We’re working on finding the right way to do that, the right timing to do it, the right tactics to have in place,” Pompeo told a news conference.
“We certainly don’t want to cause problems any place else. I’m very confident in the coming weeks, we’ll figure that out, as between, not only the United States and the EU, but the United States and other parts of the world.”