U.S. Secretary of Defense Embarks on Multiday Trip to Middle East

07.03.2023 North America
U.S. Secretary of Defense Embarks on Multiday Trip to Middle East

U.S. Secretary of Defense Embarks on Multiday Trip to Middle East

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His Majesty King Abdullah of Jordan stressed on Sunday the need to restore calm and de-escalation in the Palestinian Territories, as well as cease any unilateral measures that undermine stability and peace prospects.

At a meeting with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in Amman, King Abdullah urged stepping up efforts to create a political horizon that would pave the way towards relaunching Palestinian-Israeli negotiations to reach just and comprehensive peace on the basis of the two-state solution, according to a royal court statement.

His Majesty reaffirmed the importance of establishing an independent, sovereign, and viable Palestinian state on the 4 June 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The meeting also covered the strategic partnership between Jordan and the United States, as well as prospects for expanding defense cooperation.

The King expressed pride in the deep-rooted ties of friendship and the strong military partnership between the two countries.

Discussions also covered the latest regional developments, as well as efforts to reach political solutions to crises in the region. Regional and international efforts to counter terrorism within a holistic approach were also discussed.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, Director of the Office of His Majesty Jafar Hassan, US Ambassador to Jordan Henry Wooster, and the accompanying US delegation attended the meeting.

On Saturday, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III embarked on a multiday trip to meet with civil and military leaders in the Middle East - including those in Jordan, Egypt and Israel - to reinforce the U.S. commitment to partnerships and security in the region, the U.S. Department of Defense said in a statement.

“Secretary Austin will convey enduring U.S. commitment to the Middle East and provide reassurance to our partners that the United States remains committed to supporting their defense and increasing and strengthening the strategic partnerships with each of these countries,” said a senior defense official in advance of the trip.

“Secretary Austin will talk about, with each partner, the tremendous opportunities that we have because of cutting-edge innovation, emerging technology, shared assessments of what the threats are facing our partners in the region, and that now is the time to improve collective and shared defense,” the official added.

Some areas for collaboration include integrated air and missile defense, maritime security, intelligence sharing and early warning systems.

“This is important not only the for the security of the citizens of the region, the territory and the defense of our partners, but also obviously sends a strong strategic signal of our commitment to each other and to regional security and stability,” the official said.

Also central to discussion will be the “full constellation of Iran-associated threats,” the official said. Those threats include Iran's arming, training and funding of violent proxy groups, aggression at sea, cyber threats, it's ballistic missile program and drone attacks.

“Every partner in every capital you visit in the Middle East will talk about their concerns related to all of these threats,” the official said, and Austin will consult with those partners on how those threats can be pushed back and undermined.

During the visit to Egypt and Jordan, the official said, Austin is expected to highlight those nations' leadership roles in facilitating integrated deterrence.

“In Israel, he will reaffirm his ironclad commitment to Israel’s security, and Israel’s inherent right to self-defense,” the official said. “He’ll also be quite frank with Israeli leaders about his concerns regarding the cycle of violence in the West Bank and consult on what steps Israeli leaders can take to meaningfully restore calm before the upcoming holidays.” (Jordanian Royal Court; Petra; U.S. Department of Defense; Photo © Royal Court/Petra)



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