US defense chief visits Mideast to reassure regional allies

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(VOVWORLD) - US 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.

US defense chief visits Mideast to reassure regional allies  - ảnh 1Jordan's King Abdullah II meets with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in Amman, Jordan, March 5, 2023. (Photo: Jordanian Royal Palace/Handout via Reuters)

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.

"Austin will convey enduring US commitment to the Middle East and provide reassurance to our partners that the United States remains committed to supporting their defense," said a senior US defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

At a reception for Austin in Amman, Jordan's King Abdullah II underscored the need to reduce tensions and restore peace in the Palestinian territories and stop unilateral measures that destabilize and undermine efforts to reach peace.

King Abdullah called for increased efforts to open up a political vision to pave the way for the resumption of negotiations between Palestine and Israel towards achieving a just and comprehensive peace based on a two-state solution. 

He underlined the importance of establishing an independent, sovereign Palestinian state with the 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital.