US Defense Secretary James Mattis met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman on Monday in a trip designed to shore up support for American allies.
Jordan’s official Petra news agency reported that the two discussed a number of regional issues, including the campaign against the Islamic State terror group, the Syrian civil war, and the impact of Syrian refugees fleeing the fighting on the kingdom.
Abdullah and Mattis also discussed US-Jordanian defense ties and American support for Jordan’s military. Mattis told the Jordanian king that the US was willing to increase aid to the country, according to Petra.
Speaking to reporters during the flight to Jordan, Mattis said that talks would focus on America’s shared security interests with Jordan, which he called a close US ally.
The Pentagon said when announcing the trip last week that Mattis would “express US appreciation for Jordanian efforts to combat ISIS [Islamic State], and re-affirm US commitment to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Jordan in facing regional and global challenges.”
U.S. Secretary of Defense Mattis with King Abdullah II on August 21. (2/3) pic.twitter.com/s1hVACdK4B
— U.S. Embassy Jordan (@USEmbassyJordan) August 21, 2017
In addition to King Abdullah, Mattis also met Monday with Mahmoud Freihat, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Jordanian Armed Forces.
It is Mattis’s first trip to Jordan since becoming defense secretary. The former US Marine Corps general had served as head of US Central Command, which oversees American military operations in the Middle East.
Mattis is also scheduled to visit Turkey and Ukraine later this week.