State Department confirms Pompeo will only meet Ecumenical Patriarch


A State Department official confirmed on Friday that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will only meet with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos and other religious leaders during his visit to Istanbul in the coming days.

The official said Pompeo's schedule is "tight" and Turkish officials will not be available, adding that there will be “plenty of opportunities” to meet with them and discuss issues, such as Turkey’s acquisition of the Russian-made S-400 missile system.

Pompeo and his Turkish counterpart will have an opportunity to discuss bilateral issues in a few weeks at the regular NATO meeting of foreign ministers.

The talks between Pompeo and Vartholomaios – part of a seven-nation tour on November 13-23 – are aimed at discussing “religious issues in Turkey and the region and to promote our strong stance on religious freedom around the world,” according to a State Department press release published on Tuesday.