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Press Release | June 5, 2023

CENTCOM Commander Visits Regional Partners


June 03, 2023

Release Number 20230603-01


TAMPA, Fla. – Over the last two weeks, Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, commander of U.S. Central Command, met with regional partners from the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Israel, and Jordan.

From May 15 – 16, General Kurilla traveled to UAE where he met with President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the UAE Chief of Defense, Lieutenant General Engineer Eisa Saif Bin Ablan Almazrouei. General Kurilla and President Mohamed bin Zayed discussed shared regional security concerns as well as U.S. and UAE security partnerships. General Kurilla and the UAE Chief of Defense discussed the strong military-to-military ties and the shared regional outlook of the two nations. As part of the visit, Kurilla toured the Wahat Al Karama Memorial where he placed a wreath in honor of those who had given their lives in the defense of UAE, including those who died alongside U.S. servicemembers in recent conflicts.

From May 16-18, General Kurilla traveled to KSA and met with Chief of Defense, General Fayyad bin Hamed al-Ruwaili; Commander of the Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces, Lieutenant General Mazyad bin Sulaiman Al-Amro; Deputy Commander of the Royal Saudi Air Force, Major General Talal bin Sulaiman al-Ghamdi; Assistant Minister of Defense, His Excellency Talal Bin Abdullah Bin Turki Al-Otaibi. The meetings focused on the strong bilateral military relationship and ways to increase joint efforts, including the Eagle Resolve 23 exercise. General Kurilla also visited the RSAF Air Operations Center where he discussed integrated air and missile defense as well as increasing the interoperability of both counties systems.

On May 18, General Kurilla visited Iraq where he met with Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani and the commander of the Joint Operations Command for Iraq, Lieutenant General Qais Al-Muhammadawi AI-Abbasi. General Kurilla praised Iraq’s commitment to continuing the fight against ISIS, which resulted in ISIS attacks reaching historic lows during the month of Ramadan. The leaders also discussed the current security situation in Iraq and the progress of the Iraqi Security Forces in their fight against ISIS.

From May 18-19, General Kurilla visited Kuwait where he met with the Minister of Defense, Sheikh Talal Khalid Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah and the Chief of Defense, Major General Ghazi Hassan Jazaa Al-Shammari. The leaders discussed matters of regional security, shared interests, and ways to strengthen the two countries longstanding military-to-military relationship. General Kurilla expressed gratitude for the unwavering support Kuwait has provided to operations, including their immediate offer of support during the Sudan crisis.

From May 19-22, General Kurilla visited Qatar where he met with His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani the Emir of Qatar, the Minister of Defense, Dr. Khalid bin Muhammad al-Attiyah, and the Chief of Defense, Lt. Gen Salim Hamad Aquil Al Nabit. The meeting focused on the strong military to military relationship between the two countries. General Kurilla thanked the Qatari leadership for their constant support of the U.S. and our allies and partners. The leaders expressed their desire to work more closely together to meet regional security challenges.

From May 30 to June 1, General Kurilla visited Israel where he met with the Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, who expressed the importance of joint exercises between the U.S. and Israel to advance cooperation between the respective militaries and defense establishments.  General Kurilla also conducted multiple engagements with Israel Defense Forces Chief of Defense, Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi, to discuss working toward closer interoperability, building joint operational capability, and strengthening the partnership. General Kurilla visited several Israel Defense Forces operational units to gain a deeper understanding of their capabilities. He also visited Yad Vashem to honor the 6 million victims of the Holocaust.

From June 1-2, General Kurilla visited Jordan where he met with the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff, Major General Pilot Yousef Hunaiti, where they discussed the strong military to military relationship, regional security issues, and the growing concern of illicit narcotic trafficking out of Syria. 

"The key to stability in the CENTCOM region is iron clad relationships and the continued building of interoperability with our partners," said Kurilla. “These visits are critical and the information I learn first-hand is invaluable. Meeting with each of our partners, discussing shared opportunities and shared concerns, allows us to deepen our ties and brings home the importance of working together to improve regional security."