Published: Wed, February 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Coalition members must help Iraq rebuild, Tillerson says

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

Australian and New Zealand soldiers have trained more than 30,000 Iraqi troops in the fight against Islamic State militants since 2015.

The economy of Jordan has suffered due to the turmoil of conflicts in neighbouring Syria and Iraq, forcing the state to borrow heavily from external and domestic sources.

Tillerson added that the United States fully understands the security concerns of Turkey, which began a military offensive last month into Syria against US-backed Kurdish militias in the northern region of Afrin.

Tillerson said he also discussed with Shoukry a joint commitment by the United States and Egypt to defeat the Islamic State group, adding that their joint efforts are 'steadfast'.

"The end of major combat operations does not mean we have achieved the enduring defeat of ISIS", Tillerson said at a meeting of coalition members in Kuwait.

While the USA is expected to announce a $3bn package through the Export-Import Bank, pledges so far have fallen well short of the almost $100bn Iraq says it needs. Both men have denied the accusations.

It stepped up support for Kurdish-led forces in Syria before its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey began a military operation against them last month, and has sided firmly with Israel in recognising Jerusalem as its capital, angering Palestinians and drawing rebukes from Arab leaders.

Jordan hosts more than 2-million Palestinian refugees, most of whom get help from the UN Relief and Works Agency.

Tillerson is then expected in Beirut on Thursday for talks with Lebanese leaders.

"The United States, as it does in all countries, supports a transparent and credible electoral process and all citizens being given the right and the opportunity to participate freely and fairly", said Tillerson.

Defying the Israeli threats, Lebanon last Friday signed its first offshore oil and gas exploration and production contracts for two energy blocks, including the disputed Block 9.

Tillerson also held private talks with President Sisi at the presidential palace.

On Palestine, Tillerson said the USA was still committed to a two-state solution, adding that Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December has not changed the overall situation with regard to reaching a solution.

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