U.S. defense secretary aims to reassure Mideast allies, deliver tough message

Source: theglobeandmail.com theglobeandmail.com

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U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, in Jordan to begin a three-country Mideast visit, is aiming to reassure key allies of American commitment to the region despite Washington’s recent focus on Russia and China, officials said, but plans frank messages for leaders of Israel and Egypt. The Pentagon chief, who arrived in Amman on Sunday, is expected to press Israeli leaders to reduce tensions in the West Bank and work to strength ties in talks with Egyptian leaders while touching on human rights concerns. “Austin will convey enduring U.S. commitment to the Middle East and provide reassurance to our partners that...