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Tillerson sees tough talks with Turkey, others on Mideast trip

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expects to have tough talks during a five-nation trip of the Middle East next week, including in Turkey, where he will urge leaders to rein in an offensive in northern Syria, US officials said on Friday. Briefing reporters on Tillerson’s February 11-16 trip to Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, and Kuwait, US officials acknowledged there would be difficult conversations at each stop. Jordanian leaders were upset when the United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of…

Tillerson backs Trump as book casts mental health doubts

WASHINGTON: Washington’s chief diplomat Rex Tillerson found himself obliged to defend President Donald Trump’s fitness for office Friday after a bombshell new book called into doubt his mental health. In an extraordinary portion of a television interview on foreign policy challenges, Tillerson was asked about claims that Trump has a short attention span, regularly repeats himself and refuses to read briefing notes. “I’ve never questioned his mental fitness. I’ve had no reason to question his mental fitness,” said…

US envoy says ‘real dialogue’ needed with North Korea

BANGKOK: The top US envoy for North Korea said Friday that "real dialogue" is needed to gauge what Pyongyang wants from its accelerated drive towards nuclear weapons statehood. Joseph Yun's comments came after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson created a stir by appearing to open a door to direct talks with the North without preconditions -– a major policy shift that the White House swiftly rowed back on. "It's very hard to discern what their intent is without, as I said, having a real dialogue," Yun, the US Special…

Pakistan is committed to eradicate terrorism from the country, PM tells Tillerson

ISLAMABAD: A meeting between US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was held in Islamabad on Tuesday evening. During the meeting, they discussed matters of bilateral interest; cooperation in different sectors and regional situation. At the outset of the meeting, the Prime Minister said that Pakistan is committed to the eradication of terrorism from the country. He said Pakistan is looking forward to enhancing security and economic relations with the United States. …

US Secretary of State Tillerson in surprise visit to Afghanistan

BAGRAM, Afghanistan: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson renewed US support for Afghanistan in a surprise visit Monday, days after the Taliban launched a spate of attacks they described as a "message" to America. Tillerson is only the second member of Donald Trump's cabinet to visit the war-torn country since the US president's pledge in August to stay the course in America's longest war and send more troops. His unannounced trip comes after one of the bloodiest weeks in Afghanistan in recent memory as the…

Tillerson to arrive in Pakistan on Tuesday

ISLAMABAD: On invitation of Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit Pakistan on Tuesday. In his one-day visit, the US secretary of state will meet the prime minister, foreign minister and the army chief of Pakistan to discuss continued bilateral cooperation. Read More: Tillerson woos Gulf allies in push to undercut Iran The secretary of state will also discuss Pak-US ties, Pakistan’s critical role in the success of South Asia strategy of the US and the expanding economic…

Tillerson ends China trip with warm words from President Xi

BEIJING: With warm words from Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ended his first trip to Asia since taking office with an agreement to work together with China on North Korea and putting aside trickier issues. China has been irritated at being repeatedly told by Washington to rein in North Korea's nuclear and missile programs and the U.S. decision to base an advanced missile defense system in South Korea. Beijing is also deeply suspicious of U.S. intentions toward self-ruled…