Tillerson Set To Visit Middle East Amid Rising Tensions In Syria

Tillerson Set To Visit Middle East Amid Rising Tensions In Syria

With a large Palestinian population, Jordan is unhappy with President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the U.S. Embassy there. But the officials said diplomacy is necessary to cement anti-IS gains and restore regional stability as the administration presses other nations and private companies to help with post-war reconstruction. Tillerson will repeat warnings for Turkey to show restraint in military operations in Kurdish areas of Syria, according to US officials who talked with foreign media outlets on Sunday. The timing is sensitive: El-Sissi is seeking a second four-year term with no serious contenders in a March presidential election.

Mr Tillerson's trip to Cairo, where he will meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to emphasise joint security cooperation, takes place just as Egypt has launched a major military offensive against militants on the Sinai peninsula.

Tillerson will also arrive in Kuwait on the same day leading the US delegation to two worldwide gatherings: That of the 74 members in the USA -led anti-ISIS coalition and a conference on Iraqi reconstruction.

The U.S. officials said the aim was to keep the coalition focused on the complete defeat of IS and other groups, and then rebuilding war-devastated zones to prevent extremists from regaining territory.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry held talks with his USA counterpart Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who has started his Middle East tour on Monday; the tour includes Amman, Ankara, Beirut, Cairo, and Kuwait, and takes place from February 11-16. From left, Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Trump.

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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. They accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and their arch-rival Iran. Doha denied the accusations. The United States has suspended $195 million in military aid over concerns about human rights and democracy.

He will visit North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey on the tour's final stop where the USA diplomat is expected to encounter with hard issues regarding the U.S.'s support for the PKK's Syrian affiliate, the Democratic Union Party (PYD).

Tillerson will conclude the tour in Ankara, Turkey, with surely tense talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"We are urging them to show restraint in their operations in Afrin and to show restraint further along the line across the (border) in northern Syria", a U.S. official told reporters in a conference call.

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