Dubai: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday announced the formation of an Arab force and alliance capable of encountering regional challenges, Al Arabiya TV reported.

“The US is not going to leave the Middle East region,” Pompeo said in an interview with Al Arabiya on Friday, reports Xinhua news agency.

Asked on reports about the imminent formation of an Arab military alliance or a sort of an Arab Nato, Pompeo replied that it is “an attempt to build a coalition of Middle Eastern forces that can respond to many threats to the region.”

On whether this coalition force was going to replace the US forces in Syria, Pompeo said: “different countries will have to make their own decisions about how they are going to participate in this coalition.”

Meanwhile, he reiterated that Saudi Arabia is an important partner of the US.

“This relationship, this mutually beneficial relationship, is to create stability in the Middle East,” he said.

Pompeo outlined Washington’s main priorities in the Middle East which include destroying Islamic State and ensuring regional stability.

On the Iranian affair, he indicated that announcing withdrawal from Syria does not contradict the US strategy towards Iran.

The US pullout from Syria does not mean any backing down on fighting against terror, he said.