Defense Secretary to Visit Middle East and Europe
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will begin a five-day trip to the Middle East and Europe tomorrow, defense officials announced today. The trip is intended to reaffirm the enduring U.S. commitment to strategic partnerships, the officials said.
Mattis will begin his engagements Aug. 21 in Jordan by meeting with King Abdullah II and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Lt. Gen. Mahmoud Freihat. "The secretary will express U.S. appreciation for Jordanian efforts to combat [the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria], and re-affirm U.S. commitment to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Jordan in facing regional and global challenges," the officials said. This is the secretary's first trip to Jordan during his tenure, they said.
On Aug. 23, Mattis is scheduled to travel to Turkey to meet with Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli, Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Çavusoğlu and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The defense secretary will emphasize the steadfast U.S. commitment to Turkey as a NATO ally and strategic partner, "seek to collaborate on efforts to advance regional stability, and look for ways to help Turkey address its legitimate security concerns -- including the fight against the [Kurdistan Workers' Party]," defense officials said.
Mattis concludes his trip Aug. 24 with his first visit to Kyiv, Ukraine, as defense secretary. There, the secretary will meet with Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak and President Petro Poroshenko. "During these engagements, the secretary will reassure our Ukrainian partners that the U.S. remains firmly committed to the goal of restoring Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as strengthening the strategic defense partnership between our two countries," the officials said.