On his first trans-Atlantic trip in his current post, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met with leaders from three U.S. allies in the Middle East, according to a news release issued by the Defense Department today.
Meeting With Ghani in Munich
At the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 17, 2017, Mattis met with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani. The men discussed the two countries' commitment to the safety and security of Afghanistan, the release said, and Ghani thanked Mattis for the sacrifices that U.S. military personnel have made and continue to make in his country.
Mattis and Ghani also discussed the status of reforms in the Afghan security forces, and they both noted anti-corruption efforts are among the work that still needs to be done, the release said. Mattis thanked Ghani for his leadership and for his enduring partnership with the United States.
Meeting With Crown Prince in UAE
On Saturday, Feb. 18, Mattis traveled to the United Arab Emirates and met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, the release said. They discussed the strong and sustained U.S.-UAE. defense partnership.
Mattis and the crown prince talked about a range of shared security threats, including the ongoing instability in Yemen and the way forward in the counter-ISIS campaign, the release said. The secretary commended the UAE's troops for their effectiveness and affirmed his commitment to working with the UAE to counter terrorism and defend freedom of navigation around the Arabian Peninsula.
Both leaders agreed on the importance of the U.S.-UAE strategic partnership and look forward to deepening bilateral cooperation, the release said.
Meeting With Iraqi Leaders
Today, Mattis visited Baghdad to meet with coalition commanders and political leaders and assess progress in the counter-ISIS campaign.
He met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Defense Minister Arfan al-Hayali, noting the respect Iraq's military has earned for its fighting ability, according to the release. Mattis praised the Iraqis' hard-won gains against ISIS, and the leaders discussed operations to liberate Mosul, the release said.
All three leaders affirmed their commitment to continued U.S.-Iraq partnership in the effort to deal ISIS a lasting defeat, the release said.
The secretary ended his visit by meeting U.S. and coalition troops, thanking them for their commitment and service.