US Defence Secretary to discuss IS with NATO counterparts

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, November 8, 2017
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US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has plenty of pressing issues as he begins talks with NATO allies on Wednesday. NATO defence ministers are meeting over two days at the alliance’s Brussels headquarters.

The talks will also look at efforts to revamp NATO’s command structure to help it better combat the rising threat from Russia.

Mattis will hold a separate meeting on Thursday with partners from the coalition fighting IS in the Middle East, where the jihadists continue to lose territory.

As he flew to Europe, Mattis told reporters that coalition partners are looking to the United States for a clear plan about what follows the physical defeat of IS.

America’s military involvement in Syria has until now been focused solely on fighting IS, but with the jihadists on the ropes, Washington must articulate its longer-term interests and what role, if any, US forces will play in Syria.

Mattis supports a UN-backed effort in Geneva, which has run in parallel to a Russian and Iranian-led process, to reach a diplomatic solution.

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