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Pompeo kicks off Mideast leg of first trip as top US envoy

Pompeo kicks off Mideast leg of first trip as top US envoy

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in Saudi Arabia, kicking off the Middle East leg of his first trip abroad as America's top diplomat.

His visit on Saturday comes just weeks ahead of several key dates that have potential to further roil the already volatile region.

President Donald Trump has set a May 12 deadline to decide whether to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal — something he appears likely to do despite heavy pressure to stay in from European and other parties.

Two days later the U.S. plans to open its new embassy in Jerusalem, marking a significant shift in decades of American policy toward Israel and the Palestinians, who also claim the holy city as their capital.

After Saudi Arabia, Pompeo goes to Israel and Jordan.