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Mattis reinforces US support in UAE
February 19, 2017, 3:35 pm

US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis arrived in the Persian Gulf on Saturday to a welcome that will rarely be given to members of the Trump administration.

Mattis is a well-known figure in the region as he previously served as head of US Central Command (CentCom) in Doha, Qatar, and carries views that are in tandem with leaders in the Gulf.

During his confirmation hearings he lambasted Iran as the biggest destabizing force in the Middle East.

Late on Saturday, Mattis discussed military and defense cooperation and means to combat extremism in the region with UAE ruler Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The UAE is part of a US-led coalition which has carried out hundreds of air raids against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

President Donald Trump has been trying to realign US policy in the Middle East. In January, he spoke with Sheikh Khalifa and the two leaders discussed creating safe zones for refugees in Syria.

Two days earlier, Mattis had reassured Western allies that Washington was firmly a part of NATO and would stand together against any dangers threatening the alliance.

“We all see our community of nations under threat on multiple fronts as the arc of instability builds on Nato’s periphery and beyond,” said Mattis in Brussels.

He also said that Russia will be held accountable for its actions.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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