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U.S. secretary of state, on Mideast trip, holds talks in Cairo

12 February 2018, 03:37 | Taylor George

S Secretary Tillerson to travel to Middle East

US President Donald Trump

The United States and Egypt on Monday reaffirmed their commitment to battle Islamic militants in the Middle East as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held talks with Egyptian officials in Cairo at the start of his week-long trip to the region.

The U.S.is offering help countering extremism.

Tillerson will raise human rights issues with Sisi, according to the US officials, who previewed the trip on condition they not be identified. He did not specifically mention el-Sissi's virtually uncontested election, or the aid being withheld. The opposition is boycotting as some potential rivals have been arrested or barred from running.

The Iraq Reconstruction Conference will look at private-sector investment opportunities and global support for the rebuilding of Iraq. The Secretary and his counterparts will discuss how the 74-member Global Coalition can ensure an enduring defeat for ISIS in Iraq and Syria, while sharpening the Coalition's focus on denying ISIS's global ambitions.

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Asked about his country's view of the upcoming vote, Tillerson said the US always advocates for free and fair elections and would continue to do so. Instead, he'll press companies and banks to boost activities in Iraq to spur long-term development.

Trump also voiced intention to move the USA embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Jordan, which has a large Palestinian population, including refugees, is among the most concerned.

Tillerson's first stop will be in Amman, where he is expected to tout a major new defense memorandum of understanding with Jordan, alongside King Abdullah II.

Tillerson is then set to head to Turkey for discussions with Washington's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally including on the conflict in Syria. He'll look to address Turkey's concerns about its borders in way to avoid killing civilians.



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