Defense Secretary James Mattis’ trip to the Middle East and Central Asia will continue the dialogue about the South Asia strategy President Donald J. Trump announced in August.
The defense secretary is in Egypt today and will journey on to Jordan, Pakistan and Kuwait before returning. Mattis said wants to take stock of the security situation in the region. “I'm also visiting some key security partners, or key security arenas out there,” he told reporters traveling with him.
In Egypt, the secretary will meet with President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Defense Minister Gen. Sedki Sobhi. The men will discuss operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the terror attack ISIS launched against a mosque in the Sinai and ongoing Egyptian efforts against violent extremism. “We appreciate Egypt's counterterrorism cooperation, I think you're all aware that it's grown over the last year,” Mattis said. “I think any kind of security buildup in Egypt, where -- over a third of the Arab people live is in Egypt – is good for the region as a whole.”