U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sets out on his Eurasian five-nation tour starting with Kyiv on Thursday and then heading to Minsk. Recently, the diplomat found himself in an awkward situation after an explosive interview in which he allegedly confused Bangladesh with Belarus or Ukraine.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took part in the interview with National Public Radio host Mary Louise Kelly last Friday. According to the New York Times, he got angered by a reporter’s questions about Ukraine and challenged her to point out the location of Ukraine on an unlabeled map.
On Saturday, Pompeo appeared to indicate that she mistook Bangladesh for Ukraine. “It’s worth noting that Bangladesh is not the Ukraine,” he said in his statement. However, some observers speculated that it was Pompeo who made the geographical goof by confusing Bangladesh with Belarus.
Oh my God this is exactly what happened. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tried to slander a reporter who knows far more about European geography that he does, by insinuating that she has misidentified Ukraine as Belarus. But he is such a dingdong he accidentally wrote Bangladesh. https://t.co/BLHygyuV48
— Ken Tremendous (@KenTremendous) January 25, 2020
The Washington Post blasted Pompeo’s tale as a “blatant gaslighting attempt.” The situation comes on the heels of Pompeo’s trip to Belarus’ capital, where he plans to meet Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei.
The Secretary intends to underscore the US commitment to “a sovereign, independent, stable, and prosperous Belarus”, according to the State Department release. Lukashenko said earlier that Belarus was in talks with the United States regarding oil deliveries.
During his visit to Minsk last September, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale said the US was open to ease sanctions and reinstate ambassadors in response to Belarus improving its human rights and democracy record.
The rescheduled trip was postponed due to tensions with Iran will see Pompeo visit Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan after a stop in the United Kingdom. The trip will last from 29 January to 4 February. The diplomat’s agenda is to focus on promoting human rights, energy independence, and economic reform.