Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that the U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria announced by President Donald Trump last month will go ahead despite widespread criticism.
"President Trump's decision to withdraw our troops has been made. We will do that," Pompeo told a joint press conference in Cairo with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on January 10.
Pompeo also spoke about containing Iran's influence and called for an end to Middle East rivalries to roll back Tehran's influence and vowed to "expel every last Iranian boot" from Syria.
"It's time for old rivalries to end, for the sake of the greater good of the region," Pompeo said in a speech in Cairo during a Middle East tour to reassure allies about US plans to withdraw troops from Syria.
The US "will use diplomacy and work with our partners to expel every last Iranian boot" from Syria and will bolster efforts "to bring peace and stability to the long-suffering Syrian people," he said.
Pompeo is in Egypt in the latest stop of a nine-country Middle East tour aimed at reassuring the United States' Arab partners that Washington is not abandoning the region.
While confirming the decision to withdraw troops from Syria, Pompeo said Washington will continue to finish the battle against the Islamic State group, adding that the United States will remain a steadfast partner in the Middle East.
Pompeo arrived in Egypt on January 10 after visits to Jordan and Iraq.
Pompeo said on Twitter after talks with President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi that "the U.S. stands firmly with Egypt in its commitments to protecting religious freedom and in the fight against terrorism that threatens all of our friends in the Middle East."
He is also to deliver a speech on Washington's broader Middle East objectives.
From Egypt, Pompeo plans to continue on to Gulf Arab states.