Friday, 23 February, 2018

Secretary Tillerson Meets with Middle East Allies, Promotes Peace Plan

Tillerson arrives in Egypt on first leg of Mideast tour amid heightened regional tension Rex Tillerson kicks off Middle East trip in Egypt
Ellis Copeland | 15 February, 2018, 13:03

In an interview with al-Hurra TV, a US-funded Arabic network, Tillerson said the event in Kuwait was not meant to be a donor conference. He listed several large USA corporations that already have deals with Iraq totaling $2 billion, and he lauded the investment opportunities.

The U.S. announced that it will increase aid to Jordan by more than $1 billion over the next five years, despite the fact that President Donald Trump had previously pledged to cut aid to countries that oppose U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Tillerson, speaking at a meeting in Kuwait of the US-led global coalition against Daesh, also said Washington had made a decision to provide an additional $200 million of aid to stabilize liberated areas in Syria. "In places like Afghanistan, the Philippines, Libya, West Africa, and others, it is trying to carve out and secure safe havens", he said.

The Kurdish People's Protection Units in Syria is considered by Washington to be a top ally in the fight against ISIS. Jordan's military has played a key role in the US -led anti-Islamic State coalition, and its intelligence services have produced some of the best intelligence on al-Qaeda, experts say.

Both Tillerson and al-Safadi acknowledged the disagreements but said the end goal of both countries remains the same.

Jordan has been an important part of the US-led coalition that has been fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria. "History must not be allowed to repeat itself elsewhere".

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Kuwait will celebrate Liberation Day from Iraq in two weeks and Iraq still pays it reparations.

The United States, which has been embroiled in Iraq since its 2003 invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, did not directly give at the conference on Wednesday in Kuwait City.

Amman says the Syrian crisis has cost it more than $10 billion. "Iraq can not commence the mission of rebuilding itself without support, which is why we are all here today from all around the world, to stand by Iraq's side". One flash point is in northwestern Syria, where Syrian Kurds allied with the United States are being attacked by troops from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey.

Mr. Tillerson said that the administration is hoping that other countries and aid organizations step in with funding as the United States retreats.

Tillerson announcement comes after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the United States earlier in the day to "stop this theater with Daesh in Syria", adding that a decision by the U.S. to continue to fund the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia would affect Turkey's decisions.

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