Defense Secretary James Mattis Expected in Israel Next Week

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, left, and Israeli Defense Defense Avigdor Lieberman stand for the National Anthem during an enhanced honor cordon to welcome Lieberman at the Pentagon Tuesday, March 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
AP/Cliff Owen

The Times of Israel reports: US Defense Secretary James Mattis is set to travel to Israel next week as part of a Middle East and Africa tour meant to “reaffirm key US military alliances,” the Pentagon announced on Friday.

He is set to arrive in Israel on Thursday and will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. He will also participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at Yad Vashem — The World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, the Pentagon said.

Mattis will begin the six-day tour with a visit to Saudi Arabia, followed by Egypt. He will also stop in Qatar and end the tour in Djibouti. The defense chief will “engage with strategic partners in the Middle East and Africa” and “discuss cooperative effort to counter destabilizing activities and defeat extremist terror organizations,” according to the Pentagon statement.

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