USA confirms Tillerson to visit Turkey

S Secretary Tillerson to travel to Middle East

Tillerson is traveling through Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Kuwait over the next five days, where he already planned to focus his discussions on the ongoing crisis in Syria.

According to a press statement issued here on Thursday by Ms Heather Nauert, Department Spokesperson, Mr Tillerson will travel to Amman (Jordan), Ankara (Turkey), Beirut (Lebanon), Cairo (Egypt), and Kuwait City (Kuwait) during this period. -Egyptian relations, the recent efforts to counter terrorism, as well as the regional and worldwide issues of mutual concern.

In previewing Tillerson's visit, a State Department official told reporters that "I wouldn't read too much into the fact that there's no Israel stop" and noted that the former oil executive frequently meets with Israeli officials and "stays abreast of the issues".

Tillerson will also visit Kuwait, where he will attend the Ministerial Meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, which is due to be held on February 13, and he will participate in the Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq on February 12-14.

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Tillerson will meet with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri.

Hours before leaving on Saturday, Mr. Tillerson spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, assuring him that the USA supports Israel's right to defend itself, Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein said. The Secretary will participate in events that highlight private sector opportunities to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure and modernize key sectors of its economy to improve the lives of the Iraqi people.

Iraq has declared its territory liberated from the ISIL group, but about 2,000 USA troops remain in Syria supporting a mainly Kurdish militia that controls part of the east of the country.

Tillerson is expected to meet various senior officials on the margins of both meetings before leaving the region February 16.

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