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Tillerson Set To Visit Middle East Amid Rising Tensions In Syria
12 February 2018, 07:47 | Devin Moran
US FM to visit Jordan next week
The other stops are Kuwait, Jordan and Lebanon, where he'll face mounting unease over the Trump administration's Mideast strategy, particularly its approaches to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Iran.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will press Turkey to release Americans detained by Ankara, and urge the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally to show restraint in military operations in northern Syria, according to senior U.S. officials.
The U.S.is offering help countering extremism.
It is the second visit of a senior U.S. official to the Middle East region, after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's Mideast tour in January, since U.S. President Donald Trump recognized last December the debatable holy city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel amid regional and worldwide outcry.
A general-turned-president, el-Sissi is running against an obscure politician who is among his ardent supporters. The opposition is calling for a boycott of the vote after serious challengers were either arrested or forced to quit the race.
"The secretary and his counterparts will discuss how the 74-member global coalition can ensure an enduring defeat for ISIS in Iraq and Syria", spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.
Tillerson will not be making any new US assistance pledges at the Iraq Reconstruction Conference, the officials said. Some 2,300 representatives from the private sector, including from more than 100 American companies, are slated to attend.
The Secretary will meet with senior Egyptian officials in Cairo to discuss the US-Egypt partnership, how we can further strengthen it, and coordinate on key regional issues. Jordan, which has a large Palestinian population, including refugees, is among the most concerned.
Tillerson finishes the trip in Ankara with surely tense talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"We can work with them to address their legitimate security concerns while, at the same time, minimizing civilian casualties and above all else, keeping everything focused on the defeat ISIS fight, which is not over", he added, using the acronym of the Islamic State militants.
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