Washington: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will not attend a ministerial-level meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) later this week in France, the State Department has said.
US Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan will instead lead the delegation to the G7 foreign affairs ministerial meeting slated for Friday and Saturday in France, a State Department statement said on Tuesday, Xinhua reported.
The department did not give explanation about the top US diplomat's absence. When asked by reporters at a press briefing on Tuesday, the department's Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino only said that Pompeo "has full faith in" Sullivan and "his ability to advance America's national security interests" at the meeting.
Sullivan is expected to discuss the situation in Venezuela, Iran and the Korean Peninsula with other participants.
The G7 ministerial meeting on foreign affairs sets the stage for the G7 Leaders' Summit in August in the French seaside resort of Biarritz.
The last G7 summit in Canada ended up with US President Donald Trump rebuking Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and retracting US support for a joint communique via a tweet.
Hours after leaving the G7 summit in Canada on June 9, Trump said on Air Force One that he had instructed US representatives not to endorse the joint communique released at the end of that G7 summit and called Trudeau "dishonest & weak" in his tweets.
G7 includes the seven leading industrialized countries of Britain, the US, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada.