Pompeo Snubs Merkel With Last-Minute Cancellation

As tensions with Iran reach a boiling point and Washington looks ready to walk away from trade talks with China, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo apparently wanted to make sure the US's European 'allies' know their place.

Pompeo

According to Bloomberg, Pompeo scrapped plans for a Tuesday meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, citing unspecified "pressing issues."

"Unfortunately, we must reschedule the Berlin meetings due to pressing issues. We look forward to rescheduling this important set of meetings. The Secretary looks forward to being in Berlin soon," according to a statement from the State Department that was relayed to the American embassy.

Merkel issued a brief statement saying the joint appearance had been cancelled because of the "cancellation by the US side."

Pompeo was in the region to attend talks in Finland, where he warned China and Russia against pursuing "aggressive" actions in the Arctic, while resisting a diplomatic push by other countries in the region to take steps to curb climate change. He also met with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. 

Those speculating about the reason for the cancellation have a veritable buffet of US gripes to choose from. These include: Germany’s decision to balk at banning Huawei from its 5G network, US criticisms of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, and Trump’s persistent NATO bashing, which has largely focused on Germany's not spending enough on defense.

Juergen Hardt, a lawmaker in Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, insisted that Pompeo's cancellation wasn't a snub.

Though he added that "it’s a pity that this meeting isn’t taking place."