Washington- US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will begin on Saturday a five-day trip to the Middle East and Europe to reaffirm the enduring US commitment to strategic partnerships, the Pentagon said.
Mattis will begin his engagements on Monday in Jordan by meeting with King Abdullah II and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Lt. Gen. Mahmoud Freihat.
Discussions will focus on “Jordanian efforts to combat ISIS,” it said, adding that Mattis will “reaffirm US commitment to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Jordan in facing regional and global challenges.”
“This is the secretary’s first trip to Jordan during his tenure,” the Pentagon said.
Mattis is scheduled to travel to Turkey on Wednesday to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli and Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
The defense secretary 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],” the statement said.
Mattis concludes his trip on Thursday with his first visit to Ukraine as defense secretary.
There, he will meet with President Petro Poroshenko and Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak.