Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States will participate in creating a maritime security plan for commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf region, but he said, ” It will take more time than we wish it would take.” Pompeo sat down with David Rubenstein—the president of the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., to answer some questions on the topic, on July 29.

Pompeo was asked if the United States was committed to keeping the Strait of Hormuz open and what would it take. “We’re going to keep them open. We’re going to build out a maritime security plan. Countries from all across the world who have a vested interest in keeping those waterways open will participate. It will take more time than we wish it would take, but I’m very confident that the world understands its importance, that America is prepared to be a significant part of that, but we need countries from all across the world to assist us in protecting commercial transit. We’ll be successful,” said Pompeo.

He said other countries understood the importance of keeping the Strait of Hormuz open and the United States has been conducting talks with the British about the issue. Tensions in the strait have soared as Iran faces economic pressures from President Donald Trump’s decisions to withdraw the United States from Iran’s nuclear deal and impose sanctions targeting Iranian oil exports, among other key industries.

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In his remarks before the Economic Club of Washington, Pompeo also ruled out running for the Senate in 2020 and praised President Trump’s decision to pick Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), to be the next national intelligence director. Ratcliffe had previously served in Congress, and Rubenstein asked the secretary of state if he felt Ratcliffe would be “too political for the job,”

“He’s very smart. I’m very confident he’ll do a good job. I remember people saying I’d be too political to be the CIA director too. I hope that history will inform us all that that wasn’t the case, that I did my job, that I delivered on behalf of the American people in an appropriate way and didn’t allow politics to interfere with delivering important, timely, fact-based intelligence to the president of the United States,” said Pompeo.

The director of national intelligence has oversight of the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies. If confirmed, Ratcliffe would be the principal intelligence adviser to President Trump.  

He was among the Republican questioners of special counsel Robert Mueller at public hearings last week, and he would replace outgoing director Dan Coats at a time of broader reshuffling within the national security leadership structure.

Includes reporting from The Associated Press  

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