Pompeo ends Mideast trip with visit to Oman's new sultan

Pompeo ends Mideast trip with visit to Oman's new sultan
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Sultan Haitham bin Tariq (R) receives US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (C) at Al-Barakah Palace in the capital Muscat. (AFP)
Pompeo ends Mideast trip with visit to Oman's new sultan
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Above, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo upon his arrival in Oman. (@SecPompeo Twitter)
Pompeo ends Mideast trip with visit to Oman's new sultan
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Sultan Haitham bin Tariq (L) receives US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at Al-Barakah Palace in the capital Muscat. (AFP)
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Updated 27 August 2020

Pompeo ends Mideast trip with visit to Oman's new sultan

Pompeo ends Mideast trip with visit to Oman's new sultan
  • Oman News Agency described Pompeo's trip as “a short visit to the sultanate"
  • Pompeo already traveled to Israel, Sudan, Bahrain and the UAE on this trip through the Mideast

DUBAI: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday visited Oman's new sultan, the last stop on a Mideast trip that sought to build on an American-brokered deal to have Israel and the United Arab Emirates normalize relations.
Pompeo's plane landed in Muscat and he traveled to meet Sultan Haitham bin Tariq. There, Pompeo tweeted that the two leaders spoke “on the importance of building regional peace, stability and prosperity through a united Gulf Cooperation Council.”


Oman's official news agency ONA reported that "aspects of the existing bilateral cooperation between the Sultanate and the United States were reviewed within the framework of the strong relations that bind them," but made no reference to relations with Israel.

Accompanying Sultan Haitham at the meeting was Oman's new foreign minister, Badr bin Hamad Al-Busaidi.
Sultan Haitham took power in January, following the death of longtime ruler Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who ruled Oman for 50 years. In the time since, he's focused entirely on overhauling the sultanate's government, though he said he planned to continue Oman's non-interference policy in the region. Oman for years has served as a key interlocutor between Iran and the West.

Pompeo already traveled to Israel, Sudan, Bahrain and the UAE on this trip through the Mideast, one that included him offering a recorded message in Jerusalem supporting President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign for the Republican National Convention. That speech cast aside his own advice to American diplomats to be apolitical and bulldozed a long tradition of non-partisanship by previous secretaries of state.
His trip came after a US-brokered deal announced Aug. 13 saw the United Arab Emirates and Israel open diplomatic relations. The diplomatic recognition of Israel may help the Emirates purchase advanced American weapons, such as the F-35 fighter jet.


Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister

Updated 03 December 2020

Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister

Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister
  • The rise had impacted on each individual’s share of education, health, and available resources, affecting overall demographics: minister

CAIRO: Egypt’s 14-fold population increase between 1882 and 2017 had created a “national problem” that required urgent attention, a government minister has said.

Deputy Minister of Health and Population Tarek Tawfik revealed that over the 135-year period the number of people living in the country had shot up from 6.7 million to 94.8 million.

The rise had impacted on each individual’s share of education, health, and available resources, affecting overall demographics, he added.

“(The population increase) is a national problem that needs to be solved through the collaboration of efforts between all the ministries, governmental, and non-governmental institutions, and the civil society,” Tawfik said.

He pointed out that the Egyptian National Population Council was currently drafting public policy documentation in collaboration with The American University in Cairo (AUC) aimed at resolving some of the country’s population-related issues.

Plans in the pipeline included awareness campaigns on family sizes, food and water security, and sustainability.

The council’s former rapporteur, Dr. Amr Hassan, said that a family planning project due to be launched early next year, would help to cut the birth rate in Egypt by 1 million.

Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, US Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Leslie Reed, AUC President Francis Joseph Ricciardone, and Tawfik recently launched the Strengthening Egypt’s Family Planning Program (SEFPP) youth competition, part of a $31 million initiative previously signed with the USAID to improve population health results.

Al-Mashat said that improving general healthcare, reproductive health, and family planning services were key to achieving economic empowerment for men and women.

She pointed out that the SEFPP youth competition was aimed at paving the way for the implementation of new and effective solutions to the issues and involved the Egyptian government, educational institutions and universities, youth, and civil society organizations represented by the USAID.

The program was designed to tackle the over-population problem through innovative techniques, developing youth ideas on family planning schemes, and raising awareness throughout the country.