US Defense Secretary to visit Turkey, Jordan, Ukraine

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Saturday will begin a five-day trip to Jordan, Turkey and the Ukraine, Pentagon officials announced Friday.
The trip is intended “to reaffirm the enduring US commitment to strategic partnerships,” the officials said.
Mattis will begin his engagements Monday in Jordan by meeting with King Abdullah II and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Lt Gen Mahmoud Freihat.
“The secretary will express US appreciation for Jordanian efforts to combat (the so-called Islamic State), and re-affirm US 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.
On Wednesday, Mattis is scheduled to travel to Turkey to meet with Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli, Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Mattis “will emphasize the steadfast US 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 Thursday with his first visit to Kiev, Ukraine, as defense secretary.
There, he will meet with Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak and President Petro Poroshenko.
“During these engagements, the secretary will reassure our Ukrainian partners that the US 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.

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