Washington (CNN)Secretary of State Mike Pompeo canceled a trip to Europe this week after being snubbed by officials in Luxembourg in the wake of the deadly assault on the US Capitol, according to two State Department officials familiar with the planning.The intended stop in Luxembourg had not been publicly disclosed by the State Department, which announced Monday that the top US diplomat would make his final trip abroad to Brussels. Less than 24 hours later, they said the trip was off.State Department sources told CNN that officials in Luxembourg canceled planned meetings with Pompeo prior to Monday’s trip announcement, but that the trip in its entirety was not turning out the way that Pompeo and his team had envisioned, particularly given the criticism that President Donald Trump has faced from world leaders after the Capitol invasion.
US to designate Houthis as a foreign terrorist organization”They are in the dying days of the Trump administration. I am glad they did it,” said John Heffern, the former assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, of the canceled meetings. “I do not think it is a long-term problem at all. Hopefully we will never have a secretary of state like this, or a president like this or a relationship like this with Europe again.”State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement Tuesday that the trip was being canceled due to the need to work on the Biden transition.”We are expecting shortly a plan from the incoming administration identifying the career officials who will remain in positions of responsibility on an acting basis until the Senate confirmation process is complete for incoming officials,” Ortagus said. “As a result, we are cancelling all planned travel this week, including the Secretary’s trip to Europe.”However, two officials familiar with the transition said there was no need to cancel the trip for the sake of facilitating a smooth transition.As part of the cancellation of “all planned travel,” US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft’s trip to Taiwan was also canceled.Craft had planned to visit Taiwan from Wednesday to Friday, with the US official scheduled to meet Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday, according to the island’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu.It would have been the first visit to Taiwan of a sitting US UN ambassador since 1968, before the normalization of relations between Washington and Beijing.The proposed visit, the latest in a series of high-level official trips to Taiwan under the Trump administration, had followed an announcement by Pompeo last week that the US would be lifting its decades-old restrictions on interactions between American and Taiwanese officials.The Chinese Foreign Ministry condemned Pompeo’s removal of restrictions on Monday, as well as his broader move to strengthen relations with Taiwan, but experts said that the Chinese government was avoiding any major confrontations ahead of the swearing in of President-elect Joe Biden on January 20.”Beijing appears to be taking a wait-and-see approach with the Biden administration and will resist showing its hand in the final days of Trump,” said Natasha Russem, research fellow at the Sydney-based Lowy Institute foreign policy think tank.CNN’s Ben Westcott contributed to this article.
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