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Secretary of State Pompeo postpones Ukraine trip to focus on Iraq

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Secretary of State Pompeo postpones Ukraine trip to focus on Iraq

PHOTO: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addresses human rights in Iran at the Washington State Department on December 19, 2019. REUTERS / Erin Scott / File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo postponed a trip to Ukraine on Wednesday so he could focus on the situation in Iraq after protesters attacked the US embassy.

Supporters of Iranian-backed Iraqi paramilitary groups stormed the perimeter of the US embassy and threw stones in two days of protests. They withdrew on Wednesday after Washington sent extra troops and threatened reprisals against Tehran.

Pompeo postponed his trip to Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Cyprus “due to the need for the Secretary to be in Washington, DC, to continue monitoring the ongoing situation in Iraq and to ensure the safety of Americans in the Middle East. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

On Tuesday evening Pompeo had told Fox News that the trip to Ukraine was still underway.

Pompeo should reaffirm US support for Ukraine at the highest-level visit since President Donald Trump's impeachment over handling his relations with Ukraine.

Chris Sanders report; Edition by Andrea Ricci

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