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Tillerson says US Mideast peace plan 'fairly well advanced'

14 February 2018

Officials told AP on Friday that most of Tillerson's discussions will likely be "difficult", saying those with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey will probably be especially prickly given Turkish military action against US-backed Kurdish rebels in northern Syria and escalating anti-American rhetoric in Ankara.

"We have different views on Jerusalem but we share a commitment to peace", Mr Al Safadi said.

In a joint news conference at the old foreign ministry compound, Tillerson and Egyptian Foreign Minister Shoukri highlighted bilateral issues, including the fight against terrorism, and US concerns about Egypt's presidential elections.

The high ranking American diplomat who has started his Middle East tour in Cairo will also visit Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Kuwait where discussions on the Syrian crisis and Middle East peace will be held.

The plan is being crafted by a team led by Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, and U.S. Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, both of whom have travelled to key regional capitals since the Trump administration came to office.

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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the battle against the terror group ISIL is not over.

Yet the urgency of Iraq's condition is just part of the constellation of conflict revolving around Syria.

The end of major combat operations against Daesh (the so-called IS) does not mean the United States and its allies have achieved an enduring defeat of the militant group, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday.

The meeting aims to coordinate the efforts of member countries in fighting the terrorist threats in Syria, Iraq and the rest of the world.

The Trump administration has said it would back a two-state solution if the parties agreed to it.

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Tillerson travels to Kuwait next to lead the USA delegation at two global gatherings - that of the 74 members in the US-led, anti-Islamic State coalition and a conference on Iraqi reconstruction. Israel's security is a US priority, and the danger is that USA forces could get dragged into direct conflict with Iranian militias.

"We don't bypass ISIS", Mattis said.

Israel said it destroyed an Iranian drone that entered its airspace, and an Israeli plane was shot down over Syria. "History must not be allowed to repeat itself elsewhere", Tillerson said.

Abdullah, the first Arab leader to meet with Trump after his election, flew into Washington DC weeks after the president's inauguration to reportedly warn Trump against relocating the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

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Tillerson says US Mideast peace plan 'fairly well advanced'