Any resolution to the ongoing conflict in Syria must include the removal of Iran and its proxies from the war-torn nation, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday.

“The onus for expelling Iran from the country falls on the Syrian government, which bears responsibility for its presence there,” Pompeo said in an address at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America’s annual awards dinner at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC. “We’ve been clear: if Syria doesn’t ensure the total withdrawal of Iranian-backed troops, it will not seek — not receive one single dollar from the United States for reconstruction.”

Furthermore, Pompeo noted, the US would continue to back Israel’s “right to target Iranian-backed militias within Syria for as long as that threat remains.”

The Trump administration, Pompeo asserted, was “leading a historic international campaign to apply diplomatic and economic pressure against the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

“Our goal is simple,” he stated. “[It] is to cut off the revenues the regime uses to spread terror and chaos, to fund its nuclear programs, and line its own pockets with money that should be given to the Iranian people.”

America’s goal, according to Pompeo, was “to get the Iranian regime to behave like a normal nation.”

Pompeo also said the administration was making a “truly historic push” to revive the long-dormant Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

While the administration had not yet unveiled its peace plan, Pompeo said, “we will before too terribly long, and we are hopeful that there will be parties on all sides that are prepared to engage in a constructive conversation that will lead to that.”

“We are very hopeful that one day the Palestinian people will have the same kinds of things, the same material, the same opportunities that the people of Israel have,” the secretary of state continued. “A real economy, a real governance, all the things that we want for every citizen of the world.”

The Algemeiner   (c) 2018          Barney Breen-Portnoy