December 9, 2019, 20:56

Without a change of behavior, US won’t negotiate with Taliban: Pompeo

Without a change of behavior, US won’t negotiate with Taliban: Pompeo

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that without a change in behavior, the U.S. would not work with the Taliban, in response to President Donald Trump’s canceling a secret meeting with Taliban leaders at Camp David.

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“We finally reached a point where we were close, we’d made real progress and then the Taliban failed to live up to a series of commitments that they had made and when that happened President Trump said I’m not gonna take that deal, I’m not gonna work with someone who can’t deliver on their commitments,” Pompeo told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos.

“A deal, an agreement, is just a piece of paper and we have to actually see that change in behavior,” he added on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday.

(MORE: Trump cancels secret meeting with the Taliban at Camp David after deadly bombings )

Trump tweeted Saturday evening that he had canceled a secret meeting with Taliban leaders at Camp David and called off peace negotiations after the Taliban claimed responsibility for a car bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, that killed a U.S. service member on Thursday. The service member, identified Friday as Sgt. 1st Class Elis Angel Barreto Ortiz of Morovis, Puerto Rico, was the 16th American service member killed in combat in the country this year.

“If they cannot agree to a ceasefire during these very important peace talks, and would even kill 12 innocent people, then they probably don’t have the power to negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway,” Trump said in his tweet calling off the meeting. “How many more decades are they willing to fight?”

(MORE: US soldier killed in Kabul car bomb attack identified)

(MORE: Taliban kills US service member, others in Kabul bombing as US-Taliban talks resume)

The U.S. had been negotiating with the Taliban and the Afghan government to reach an agreement that could have resulted in U.S. troops leaving the country after almost 18 years of war.

Pompeo said on Friday that the administration’s objectives in the negotiations were to “make sure we got our resources balanced appropriately” and to reduce the risk of another terror attack.

“Our soldiers and our airmen have sacrificed so much in Afghanistan. We’ve got to get this right,” he told Kansas radio station KMAN.

Pompeo also touched on recent developments in Iran and North Korea.

“The terror attacks around the world increased under the JCPOA, George, the math is really very plain,” he said, referring to the Iranian nuclear deal by its formal acronym.

“Now Hezbollah is struggling for resources, Shia militias in Iraq, same thing,” he added.

Mark Reinstein/Getty Images

United States Secretary of State Michael Pompeo delivers the year’s first Alfred M Landon Lecture at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, September 6, 2019.

Pompeo also said that Trump wants to negotiate with the Iranian government, but that whether they will meet is up to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The Iranian government moved further away from the 2015 nuclear deal on Friday, as, according to the state run news agency, the country is set to start work on centrifuges that would enrich uranium faster.

Pompeo responded to the news in a Twitter thread on Friday saying “We are confident that the UK, France, and Germany — indeed, all civilized nations — will take decisive actions to stop Iran’s nuclear extortion.”

Trump said on Aug. 26 that he would be open to a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron. During the G-7 summit earlier this month, European leaders attempted to mediate between the two countries.

The Trump administration withdrew the U.S. from the deal last May.

On North Korea, when Stephanopoulos asked if he was concerned that Kim Jong-Un was stringing the president along, Pompeo said, “We took office with nuclear tests being conducted and long-range missile tests being conducted with all too great a frequency. President Trump and my team have been working to deliver on the promises that were made in Singapore.”

North Korea has continued to test projectiles, despite the historic meeting between Trump and the country’s leader in June.

Last week, a senior North Korean diplomat called recent comments from Pompeo “thoughtless” after the Secretary of State called North Korea’s behavior “rogue,” the Associated Press reported.


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