Published: Mon, February 12, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Rex Tillerson arrives in Cairo to kick off Middle East tour

Rex Tillerson arrives in Cairo to kick off Middle East tour

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has existed since the Western-backed creation of Israel and the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories in 1948.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will begin a whirlwind tour of the Middle East on Sunday, traveling through Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Kuwait over five days.

The top US diplomat's visit to Ankara comes amid escalated tensions between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies over a series of disagreements, including human rights cases and the Syria crisis. The timing is sensitive: El-Sissi is seeking a second four-year term with no serious contenders in a March presidential election.

In Jordan, Tillerson is doing damage control after President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and decision to withhold aid money from the United Nations agency assisting Palestinian refugees. The opposition is boycotting as some potential rivals have been arrested or barred from running.

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. -Egyptian relations, the recent efforts to counter terrorism, as well as the regional and global issues of mutual concern. They said the coalition would look at containment and elimination of IS outside of Iraq and Syria by strengthening intelligence sharing, law enforcement cooperation and counter-extremist messaging.

The Iraq Reconstruction Conference will look at private-sector investment opportunities and worldwide support for the rebuilding of Iraq. Instead, he'll press companies and banks to boost activities in Iraq to spur long-term development.

Tillerson concludes the trip in Ankara with talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan which are expected to be tense.

"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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