Tillerson: we concerned about Iran-Israel confrontation in Syria
Feb 16 2018
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson walks with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi during a news conference in Amman Thomson ReutersAMMAN (Reuters) - The United States has a fairly well advanced Middle East peace plan that has been under development for a number of months, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday during a visit to Jordan.
While Tillerson sounded the alarm over distractions that threaten the gains of the anti-IS coalition, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan bashed the United States for proposing to send $550 million dollars in new assistance to Syrian opposition forces.
Amman says the Syrian crisis has cost it more than $10 billion.
The Secretary will be heading to Lebanon and Turkey on Thursday. Now Kuwait was welcoming Iraq's head of government to a conference created to help Iraq.
"This is a striking example of diplomacy and realpolitik by the Trump administration".
He also said the USA needs to work with Turkey to avoid any conflict with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally.
"Let them vote against us", Mr Trump said at the time.
The lack of trust between Washington and Ankara grew after Turkey started an air and ground offensive in Afrin, Syria, against a Kurdish group known as the People's Protection Units, or YPG.
GETTYJordan has been sharply at odds with President Trump over his decision on Jerusalem
The chief USA diplomat will also lead a delegation to the ministerial meeting in Kuwait of the 74-member Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.
He said that IS fighters had lost most of the area they once controlled in Syria and Iraq, but he added that the militia "remains a serious threat to the stability of the region, our homelands, and other parts of the globe".
"The end of major combat operations does not mean we have achieved the enduring defeat of ISIS", Tillerson said at an global conference of countries that banded together against the Islamic State, which also is commonly known by the acronym ISIS.
Turkey's hardly the only distraction.
During a brief visit to Beirut, Tillerson is expected to press Lebanese officials to rein in Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed group that threatens neighboring Israel.
Tillerson said that we agreed we would continue our close cooperation on counterterrorism measures. The U.S. has indicated it is willing to contribute around three billion, but it's unclear where the rest of the money will come from. An official statement also emphasized Amman's role in helping the U.S. in the fight against the Islamic State and counter terrorism in general.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance was ready to answer a US call for it to expand its small training mission in Iraq to support reconstruction. He said the large number of US -backed forces and rising Islamic State group casualties are proof such claims aren't true.
"The end of major combat operations does not mean we have achieved the enduring defeat of ISIS (Daesh)", he said. "Our tactics are tactics of annihilation".