US Secretary of State cancels last European trip

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has cancelled a final trip to Europe a day after it was announced, citing the transition to a new administration as President Donald Trump's term in office comes to a close, DPA reported. The State Department said all travel would be cancelled in order to ensure a smooth transition to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on 20 January.

The department is expecting to soon receive a plan from Biden's administration outlining which officials will remain in their posts on an acting basis until their replacements are confirmed by the Senate, spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement. "As a result, we are cancelling all planned travel this week, including the Secretary’s trip to Europe," she said.

Pompeo had been due to meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Belgium's Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes, according to the State Department's Monday announcement. US broadcaster CNN reported that the cancellation was linked to criticism from European government officials over the breach of the US Capitol by rioters last week and Trump's role in stoking violence.

According to sources cited by CNN, officials in Luxembourg had cancelled meetings with Pompeo before the trip was announced. Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn called Trump a "political pyromaniac who must be put before a criminal court" in an interview with RTL last week.

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