Members of a US -led coalition fighting against the Islamic State group pose for a group photograph in Kuwait City, Kuwait, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi stressed on Tuesday the importance to continue boosting relations between Egypt and the United States in various fields to face common challenges. His final stop will be Thursday in Turkey, which sees US support for Kurdish militia in Syria as a grave national security threat. The US officials said Tillerson will repeat warnings for Turkey to show restraint in military operations in Kurdish areas of Syria.
Asked about the article during a visit to Egypt, Tillerson said: "I think it's too early to judge". But the proposed new assistance to the Kurds, outlined Monday in the Trump administration's budget request, clearly undermined the calming effort.
But he said the White House was willing to "sit down and talk with the regime while that pressure campaign is ongoing". It wants $250 million for a border security force that would stem the flow of extremist fighters. "But they're also partners with whom we're facing some of the toughest issues that we have to face in the region".
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The task faced is enormous, with large parts of Iraq left in ruins by nearly 15 years of war, dating back to the 2003 US-led invasion and subsequent occupation of the country.
The U.S.' Syria policy, especially its military support for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorists, has been a cause of tension between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies. Ankara views the Kurds as an extension of a group that has waged a decades-long insurgency in Turkey, and has threatened to advance on Manjib, another Kurdish-controlled area where USA troops are based.
"In Iraq and Syria, ISIS is attempting to morph into an insurgency".
The war against Daesh must remain the priority even though major combat operations are over, Tillerson said.
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Turkey's hardly the only distraction.
US officials have expressed concern for the safety of locally hired employees of the USA embassy.
Also on February 13, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the military alliance was ready expand its training mission in Iraq.
Most of that money will come from the Arab Gulf states, with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, and Qatar each promising some $1 billion. But Tillerson said Tuesday the fight against ISIS should take precedence in the near term because the group retains the ability to disrupt the region.
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He will also lead the US delegation to the ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh to be hosted by Kuwait. Jordan backed the resolution.