Electronics

U.S. secretary of state kicks off Mideast tour in Egypt

U.S. secretary of state kicks off Mideast tour in Egypt

USA officials are deeply concerned that a direct conflict between Israel and Iran might escalate into a war, after a drone of Iranian origin entered Israeli airspace over the weekend, prompting an Israeli military response against Iranian assets in Syria and the loss of an Israeli jet in the process.

Briefing reporters on Tillerson's February 11-16 trip to Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Kuwait, US officials acknowledged there would be hard conversations at each stop.

President Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi is meeting with Tillerson on Monday afternoon in Cairo to discuss bilateral partnership, how to further strengthen it, and coordinate on key regional issues including the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, following the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital city; the decision which Egypt strongly rejected.

Tillerson will raise human rights issues with Sisi, according to the USA officials, who previewed the trip on condition they not be identified.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Fethullah Gulen, an exiled cleric based in the USA, of orchestrating the attempted coup. The opposition is calling for a boycott of the vote, after serious challengers were either arrested or forced to quit the race.

The chief USA diplomat will also lead a delegation to the ministerial meeting in Kuwait of the 74-member Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.

London City Airport closed due to unexploded bomb
Travel around one of London's major airports has been plunged into chaos after the discovery of an unexploded World War II bomb . The British Airways website showed flights to and from London City Airport cancelled until late Monday.

Tillerson will seek to focus the coalition on its priorities, many of whose members are increasingly distracted by national interests in Iraq and Syria.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expects to have tough talks during a five-nation trip of the Middle East next week, including in Turkey, where he will urge leaders to rein in an offensive in northern Syria, U.S. officials said on Friday. They said the coalition would look at containment and elimination of IS outside of Iraq and Syria by strengthening intelligence sharing, law enforcement cooperation and counterextremist messaging.

In Egypt, Tillerson will meet senior officials to discuss relations and regional issues. Jordan, which has a large Palestinian population, including refugees, is among the most concerned.

He will visit North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey on the tour's final stop where the USA diplomat is expected to encounter with hard issues regarding the U.S.'s support for the PKK's Syrian affiliate, the Democratic Union Party (PYD).

Tillerson finishes the trip in Ankara with surely tense talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson may include Jerusalem in his visit to the region this week, amid a sserious military crisis on Israel's northern border, a US official told The Jerusalem Post.


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