Published: Wed, February 14, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

Turkey's Afrin offensive has 'detracted' from fight against IS: Tillerson

Turkey's Afrin offensive has 'detracted' from fight against IS: Tillerson

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on a six-day mission through the Middle East, emphasized the effort to finish off Islamic State, which has been pushed into a sliver of territory in eastern Syria.

He said although major combat operations against IS has ended but fight against the group is far from over.

The US is focused on promoting private sector investment in Iraq, but Sami al-Araji, head of Iraq's National Investment Commission, said there had been no commitments to date, and "I am not expecting any contracts to be signed", the Times reported.

He added that his country condemns the terrorist operations by Islamic State group, while considering Egypt an important part of the global alliance in the fight against IS.

Tillerson also will meet with foreign ministers about the next step in foiling Islamic State militants by stopping them at borders and deterring recruits.

In Egypt, as well as in Kuwait, Lebanon and Jordan - the tour's other Arab stops - Tillerson will nearly certainly hear misgivings about Trump's recent decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital. But Ankara regards the group as linked to Kurdish separatists in Turkey that the government considers terrorists.

More news: All-new BMW X4 is longer, sleeker and sportier

Tillerson said all State Department employees would undergo mandatory training to be completed by June 1, speaking in Cairo to about 150 USA embassy staff outside the ambassador´s residence. The government has worked to achieve economic reforms and remove obstacles that might hinder investors, he said at a panel discussion entitled "One Window: Supporting Investors in Iraq".

"We agreed we would continue our close cooperation on counterterrorism measures", Tillerson said.

Both Tillerson and al-Safadi acknowledged the disagreements but said the end goal of both countries remains the same. Syrian air defences shot down an Israeli F-16 jet after it bombed a site used by Iran-backed forces in Syria.

Citing Iran's influence on Lebanon's Hezbollah group, Tillerson said the US supported a "free and independent" Lebanon in which all military forces remained under the control of the government. Further Iranian movement near Israel's borders could trigger a direct confrontation with both Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah, which would likely spark another regional war into which the USA would be drawn. Iran and its proxies in Syria have clashed with Israel.

On Monday morning, the two foreign ministers met behind closed doors and then addressed reporters, and later Tillerson had talks with Sisi before heading to the airport on route to Kuwait.

Like this: