Pompeo "ignorant" of Cuba's history, says Cuban president

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel has blamed Washington's misguided foreign policy toward Cuba on ignorance.

Recent comments and proposals by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo show he is "ignorant" of Cuba's history, Diaz-Canel said via Twitter.

"Pompeo, ignorant of the history and principles of the Cuban Revolution, proposes negotiating a reconciliation in exchange for abandoning the path chosen by our people, suggests betraying our friends and denying 60 years of dignity," said Diaz-Canel.

Pompeo recently said that free and fair elections in Venezuela would not be possible as long as Cuba continued to support President Nicolas Maduro.

He also accused Cuba of controlling Venezuela's political elite, army and intelligence services.

His statements have been widely condemned by senior Cuban officials who have demanded Washington present evidence of Cuba's alleged military presence in Venezuela.

The unsubstantiated claims were followed by sanctions against Cuban officials involved in the island's program of medical diplomacy.

According to Pompeo, Cuban doctors are forced to participate in the program, working long hours in sometimes dangerous areas to advance what he called the Cuban government's "political agenda."

On Wednesday, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez criticized Pompeo's statements and qualified them as "cynical, demagogic and lies."

"He can no longer hide the true purposes of the U.S. policy that intends to starve our people and cause destabilization and regime change. There is an evident gap between what they say and what they do," Rodriguez said via Twitter.

Cuba-U.S. relations have deteriorated under U.S. President Donald Trump, whose administration has reversed the normalization of ties spearheaded by his predecessor Barack Obama.

‘We’ll do what’s in our national interest’: Indian FM to Pompeo on buying S-400s from Russia

India’s foreign minister said New Delhi will have nothing but its own interests in mind, when following on the deal to purchase S-400 air defense missile systems from Moscow, the deal the US is strongly opposed to.

Subrahmanyam Jaishankar made his comments while responding to a question about the S-400 at a presser with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his visit to New Delhi.

We have relationships with several countries, many of which are of some standing. They have a history. We will do what is in our national interest.

Earlier reports said that India planned a push to convince Pompeo to grant New Delhi a waiver on purchasing the S-400s without the risk of violating the US sanctions, placed on Moscow. Without the waiver, India may be targeted under the 2017 US law, known as CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act ), which bans doing certain types of business with Russia.

Also on rt.com India to ‘make clear’ to US that S-400 deal with Moscow ‘can’t be wished away’ – report...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin signed the $5 billion defense contract in October. US officials tried to dissuade India from acquiring the state-of-the-art Russian missile defense systems, warning that buying weapons from Moscow can impact future arms deals with Washington. The Pentagon also promised to offer India “potential alternatives” to the S-400s.

India, however, has always maintained that the deal with Russia is of strategic importance, and highlighted the long history of successful defense partnership the nations share.

Also on rt.com Allies or frenemies? Pompeo lands in India with a bag of ‘freedom’ offers one doesn’t simply refuse...

Mike Pompeo, for his part, hailed US-India relations, adding that “great friends are bound to have differences.”

India is not the only country Washington has tried to discourage from purchasing the S-400s from Russia in recent years. The US tried to make its NATO ally Turkey scrap a similar deal but Ankara refused.

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US to Weigh Sending New Military Forces to Middle East

The possible deployment of more US military forces and means in the Middle East will be analyzed by the national security team of President Donald Trump, according to government officials.

The evaluation will be made after attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman on June 13, but it is not clear when a decision will be made and the president will be informed, said the sources, quoted by CNN.

They pointed out that the debates will focus on the objectives of détente and defense against which Washington considers an Iranian attack, and the specific forces necessary to fulfill those goals.

In that regard, they mentioned additional soldiers, Patriot missiles, fighters and ships for several purposes.

On Sunday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran of attacking the ships, accusations that were rejected by Tehran.

The tankers Kokuka Courageous and Front Altair, operated by a Japanese company and owned by a Norwegian shipping firm, respectively, were hit by explosive devices as they left the Straight of Ormuz, some 50 kilometers off Iran's shores.

Pompeo said in an interview with Fox TV on Sunday that the United States would guarantee the free circulation of ships in that zone.

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Pompeo says US tried & failed to unite Venezuelan opposition in leaked audio

A leaked audio of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has reportedly exposed the US effort to unite the Venezuelan opposition, whose top figures are apparently too absorbed in power games to become the next US-approved president.

Venezuelan opposition leaders are lining up in droves to pick up the mantle of presidency once Nicolas Maduro is ousted with Washington's help – and the US is struggling to get them to work together, the Washington Post reported citing a leaked audio. The recording was allegedly made during Pompeo's meeting with Jewish leaders last week.

Also on rt.com US military action in Venezuela ‘possible if that’s what’s required’ – Pompeo...

The effort to cobble together a united front against Maduro is not a thing of "these past months," according to Pompeo. It has been ongoing since he became CIA director, just after Donald Trump's swearing-in as president.

"Since the day I became CIA director, that was something that was at the center of what President Donald Trump was trying to do," he said.

The task "has proven devilishly difficult" though, as everybody in the opposition camp is after their own interests and wants to fight over the spoils rather than focus on the common cause of a coup.

"The moment Maduro leaves, everybody's going to raise their hands and [say], "Take me, I'm the next president of Venezuela.' It would be forty-plus people who believe they're the rightful heir to Maduro," Pompeo reportedly said in the audio.

READ MORE: Pompeo says US intel only OCCASIONALLY ‘gets things wrong’, after bragging about ‘lying’ CIA

In an attempt to force Washington's various stooges to team up, Pompeo sought to enlist help from religious organizations.

"We were trying to support various religious... institutions to get the opposition to come together," he said.

Pompeo blamed the disarray among the opposition for the failure of the April 30 coup attempt by a group of soldiers, which fizzled out within 24 hours.

He maintained that Maduro is overwhelmingly under the influence of foreign backers, mainly Cuba – an idea often repeated by Washington and recently used to put more sanctions on Havana. Venezuelans don't like Maduro, but are looking out for themselves instead of working towards Washington's goals, he complained.

"He [Maduro] doesn't trust Venezuelans a lick. I don't blame him. He shouldn't. They were all plotting against him. Sadly, they were all plotting for themselves."

While the US says that all options, including military, are on the table in Venezuela and pushes the crisis-hit Latin American country further into destitution with crippling economic sanctions, the opposition and the Maduro government are making tentative attempts at dialogue. Late last month, a second round of talks between representatives of self-declared 'interim president' Juan Guaido and Maduro was held in Oslo, but ended without any deal.

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Pompeo says US intel only OCCASIONALLY ‘gets things wrong’, after bragging about ‘lying’ CIA

US intelligence agencies occasionally make mistakes but should still be trusted and taken at their word, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who once famously boasted that the CIA “lies, cheats and steals.”

In an interview with Euronews, the former CIA chief insisted that US intelligence agencies are right to consider Chinese telecom giant Huawei a national security threat – a claim that has been disputed by Washington’s European allies.

There’s no doubt the intelligence community gets things wrong from time to time but their overall body of work is excellent and to be relied upon and trusted.

He bragged further that "Western countries, liberal democracies share a common value set. The Chinese don’t share that value set.”

While the US insists Huawei products contain “backdoors” which can be used to spy on behalf of the Chinese government, no proof of the alleged snooping operation has yet been produced. Unconvinced by the unsupported claims, some of Washington’s closest allies have rejected US pressure to end cooperation with the Chinese firm. Germany, for example, announced in March that it would not prevent Huawei from bidding on contracts to develop the country’s 5G networks.

Also on rt.com Germany won’t ban Huawei & ready to oppose US pressure – economy minister...

Berlin and others are right to be weary of Washington’s evidence-scarce accusations against Huawei. In just the last two decades, US intelligence agencies have been repeatedly accused of misleading and lying to the American public and the international community.

Their less than stellar track record includes providing dubious intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction program, and runs right up to the current day.

Also on rt.com ‘We lied, we cheated, we stole’: Pompeo offers honest, if disturbing admission about CIA activity...

Anonymous sources in the intelligence agency were repeatedly cited by the media to push now-debunked Russiagate. Former CIA Director John Brennan even predicted that there would be big-name indictments before the release of Robert Mueller’s deflating report. When the indictments never came, Brennan suggested that he “may have received bad information.”

Pompeo himself has seemingly contradicted his own assertion that America’s spooks should be trusted. In April, he bragged about how the CIA “lied, cheated and stole” during his time at the agency.

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Use Huawei And Lose Access To Our Data, US Tells Germany

Berlin: The United States may no longer share sensitive security information with nations that install next-generation networks, like those made by China's Huawei, that it regards as insecure, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday.

Pompeo issued the warning after meeting his German counterpart Heiko Maas in Berlin, which has so far stood with European partners in resisting US calls to ban the state-owned manufacturer from 5G mobile networks now being built.

While he said all countries would take their own sovereign decisions on which manufacturers to use, the United States would continue to warn them of the risks, including the possibility that Washington would have to withold information.

Huawei files challenge against US defense bill

Huawei has filed a motion for summary judgment in its lawsuit against the US government, in the telecoms equipment maker's latest bid to fight sanctions from Washington that threaten to push it out of global markets.

"(There is) a risk we will have to change our behaviour in light of the fact that we can't permit data on private citizens or data on national security to go across networks in that we don't have confidence (in)," he told a news conference.

Pompeo is expected to continue pressing the issue in a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel on his delayed trip to Berlin, the first stop in a five-day European trip that will also take him to Switzerland, the Netherlands and Britain.

Pompeo urged close ally Britain this month not to use Huawei's technology to build new 5G networks because of concerns it could be a vehicle for Chinese spying.

The United States is at odds with its German allies on a host of issues, from trade to military spending and nuclear non-proliferation.

Pompeo's visit had been scheduled earlier this month, but was called off at the last minute as tensions rose over Iran, on whose nuclear programme Berlin and Washington do not see eye to eye.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, responding to similar comments on Huawei made by US Vice President Mike Pence in Canada on Thursday, said the United States had yet to prove that Huawei's products presented a security risk.

"We hope that the United States can stop these mistaken actions which are not at all commensurate with their status and position as a big country," said spokesman Geng Shuang.

Pompeo also urged Germany to follow Britain in proscribing Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah group and boost military spending.

He also said that the United States was attempting to verify reports that a senior North Korean official involved in Pyongyang's non-proliferation talks with Washington had been executed.

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Pompeo says Trump wants to improve Russia relations as talks with Lavrov begin in Sochi

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov have sat down to talks in Sochi, Russia. Although both officials welcomed the chance to thaw Russia-US relations, they have much to discuss first.

Speaking before the meeting on Tuesday, Lavrov stated that “it is time to build a new, more constructive and responsible” relationship between Washington and Moscow. “It’s not destiny that we’re adversaries on every issue,” Pompeo added, touting the cooperation between both nations on counterterrorism issues.

“I’m here today because President [Donald] Trump is committed to improving this relationship,” Pompeo said. “I hope that we can find places where we have a set of overlapping interests, and can truly begin to build out strong relationships.”

Despite a warm introduction, both diplomats have a lot to talk about. Nuclear arms control is expected to be near the top of the agenda, following the Trump Administration’s recent withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, and China’s refusal to participate in a renegotiated pact. Pompeo and Lavrov will likely clash on the current crisis in Venezuela, with Washington lending its support to opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido, and the Kremlin sticking by its embattled ally, President Nicolas Maduro.

Also on rt.com Pompeo ahead of meeting Putin: We need to ‘find a way forward’ in US-Russia relations...

Geopolitically, tensions in the Persian Gulf are probably the most pressing issue. As Pompeo and Lavrov prepared to meet, the United States sailed an aircraft carrier group and flew B-52 bombers into the gulf, saying it is to deter an unspecified Iranian plot to “attack US interests.” Both the US and Iran have ramped up their rhetoric, with President Trump warning Tehran it will “suffer greatly” if it does “anything,” and clerical leader Ayatollah Yousef Tabatabai-Nejad stating that the US’ “billion-dollar fleet can be destroyed with one missile.”

READ MORE: NATO ally Spain pulls warship from US strike group ‘to avoid being dragged into conflict with Iran’

With much at stake, Pompeo and Lavrov are slated to meet again at next month’s G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. President Trump announced on Monday that he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the summit, as well as with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Kremlin, however, said that no preparations are currently underway as no offer for the presidential meeting has been received.

Also on rt.com Trump says he will meet with Xi and Putin at G20

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US Secretary of State Pompeo to meet Russia’s President Putin & Foreign Minister Lavrov on May 14

Mike Pompeo is to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov when he travels to Russia next week, the US State Department said in a statement.

The visit comes as the relations between Moscow and Washington are at a new low over accusations of Russian meddling in US elections, disagreements over approaches to Venezuela and Iran’s nuclear program as well as US ditching Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty followed up by Russia suspending its participation.

The State Department says they will discuss  “the full range of bilateral and multilateral challenges” during a meeting in the southern city of Sochi on May 14.

Pompeo met Lavrov in Finland earlier this week at the Arctic summit.

Also on rt.com Did Pompeo and Lavrov discuss ‘Russian meddling’? Depends on who you ask...

President Donald Trump talked to Putin on the phone for an hour last Friday, discussing a wide range of issues, including Venezuela, North Korea and nuclear arms control.

The same topics are most likely to be on the agenda for Pompeo to discuss with Putin and Lavrov. Last week, Washington’s protégé and opposition leader Juan Guaido failed to get enough support to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The US blamed Russia partially for the coup’s collapse and urged Moscow to stay out Venezuela. Lavrov slammed Washington’s “unprecedented campaign to oust the legitimate government” and once again called for a political solution to the conflict.

Also on rt.com MSM melts down as Trump talks Venezuela with Putin… and ‘feels same way’...

This week Iran has announced a suspension to some of its obligations under the landmark agreement – officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – after Washington piled up a series of sanctions on the country and sent an aircraft carrier group & task force to the region to send a message. Moscow said Tehran’s reaction was understandable, and urged Tehran and European countries to fulfill their obligations.

Also on rt.com Pompeo threatens 'swift and decisive' response to any attacks by Iran or its 'proxies'...

The US pulled out of the INF arms control treaty with Russia in February. Trump said last week that he and Putin discussed a possibility of making it a “three-way deal” with China, adding that Beijing “would very much like to be part of that deal.” Moscow repeatedly said it was ready for talks but it was the US who shied away from the negotiations.

Also on rt.com Russia is not an enemy of the US, but it will not be banging on a locked door – Putin...

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