Pompeo to see German, British leaders amid trans-Atlantic tensions

Washington (AFP) –


US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet the German and British leaders this month facing a raft of trans-Atlantic disputes, on a trip that will also affirm US interests in the Arctic.

Pompeo heads to Berlin on May 7 to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel and a day later will see Prime Minister Theresa May in London, the State Department announced Wednesday.

Merkel has not hidden her differences with President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly taken the unusual step of criticizing the close ally, especially over the chancellor's welcome of migrants.

The US administration has sharply diverged with Europe on a series of key issues including climate change and Iran, with Trump pulling out of widely backed international accords.

In London, Pompeo will be laying the groundwork for a June 3-5 state visit by Trump, whom May is welcoming despite his attacks on her handling of Britain's exit from the European Union.

Pompeo will start his trip by attending a meeting of ministers of the Arctic Council in the northern Finnish city of Rovaniemi.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is also expected to attend, meaning that the adversaries' top diplomats could meet on the sidelines over issues such as Venezuela's political crisis, on which they are backing rival sides.

Pompeo is to close his trip on May 9 with two stops in Greenland, one of a number of countries where rising Chinese infrastructure investment has alarmed the United States on security grounds.

Pompeo will travel to the capital Nuuk and to the western town of Kangerlussuaq, where he will meet troops of the New York Air National Guard who are deployed to assist climate research in an island heavily affected by rising temperatures.

Pompeo has said he accepts that climate change is real but does not consider it a top priority.