Feb 8, 2018

Tillerson's headed to the Middle East next week

Rex Tillerson.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images

The State Department has announced that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be traveling to Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, and Kuwait next week.

The intrigue: Turkey has launched an assault on U.S.-backed forces in Syria but has said it plans to discuss mending trust with the U.S. Although the State Department did not reference the violence, it's all but certain this will be high on the agenda. The guidance from State is that Tillerson will meet with senior Turkish officials to discuss “a range of bilateral and regional issues.”

What else to watch throughout the trip:

  • Jordan: Discussing Syria and Jordan’s involvement in Middle East peace.
  • Lebanon: Tillerson will take meetings with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, as well as Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri.
  • Egypt: Tillerson will discuss the U.S.-Egypt partnership and “key regional issues.”
  • Kuwait: Watch for Tillerson to have several meetings on the sidelines of two meetings here:
    • Tillerson is leading the U.S. delegation at the Ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, the first since the defeat of ISIS.
    • Tillerson will also participate in the Iraq Reconstruction Conference that will focus on discussions about rebuilding Iraqi infrastructure.
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