US Defense Chief to Visit Jordan, Turkey, Ukraine

Jim Mattis

Jim Mattis

Pentagon officials said Friday that Mattis aims to reaffirm Washington's commitments to each of the countries.

Mattis will meet with officials in Jordan on Sunday including King Abdullah II and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Lt. Gen. Mahmoud Freihat to discuss the conflict against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Mattis will later travel to its NATO-ally Turkey where he will meet top Turkish officials, including President Tayyip Erdoğan.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is embarking on a trip to the Middle and Europe on Saturday to "re-affirm the enduring US commitment to strategic partnerships", according to a statement from the Pentagon. Jordan is a member of the USA -led coalition fighting Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. United Nations and European Union both list PKK as a terrorist organization. There, the secretary will meet with Minister of Defense Stepan Poltorak and President Petro Poroshenko.

His visit comes amid reports the Trump administration is considering providing lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine in its fight against Russian-backed separatists.

"During these engagements, the secretary will reassure our Ukrainian partners that the USA remains firmly committed to the goal of restoring Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as strengthening the strategic defense partnership between our two countries", according to the Pentagon.

"During these engagements, the secretary will reassure our Ukrainian partners that the United States remains firmly committed to the goal of restoring Ukraines sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as strengthening the strategic defence partnership between our two countries", the Pentagon added.

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