Pompeo hopes for imminent end to US government shutdown

File photo: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.  Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP Doha, Qatar Jan 13, 2019, 11.05 PM (IST)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hopes for an imminent end to the longest government shutdown in American history, he said Sunday during a whistle-stop Middle East tour.

"I hope it ends tomorrow," Pompeo said to applause as he addressed US diplomats in Doha, the latest stop on his eight-day regional tour.

The partial US government shutdown entered its 23rd day on Sunday and has seen 800,000 federal employees go without wages being paid -- including embassy staff.

"As I travel these days with the shutdown underway, you all get that we still have a mission," Pompeo told the gathering of diplomats and their families.

US President Donald Trump has refused to back away from his demand that lawmakers approve funding to build a Mexico border wall.

As the shutdown drags on, Trump said Saturday he was holding off on declaring a state of emergency that would allow him to bypass Democrats' opposition and secure billions of dollars for the proposed wall.

"I hope we get it resolved and get everybody back to work and get (their) paycheck," Pompeo told diplomats.

Despite the ongoing crisis, he told journalists on Saturday that morale was good among US staff abroad.

"We're doing our best to make sure it doesn't impact our diplomacy," he said while in Abu Dhabi.

Story highlights

The partial US government shutdown entered its 23rd day on Sunday and has seen 800,000 federal employees go without wages being paid -- including embassy staff.