April 14, 2017 / 4:51 PM / 4 months ago

U.S. defense chief to visit Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel next week

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis speaks at the opening of the 53rd Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, February 17, 2017.Michael Dalder /Files

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will visit Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, Qatar and Djibouti starting on Tuesday, the Pentagon said in a statement on Friday.

It said Mattis would "reaffirm key U.S. military alliances," and "discuss cooperative effort to counter destabilizing activities and defeat extremist terror organizations" during the April 18-23 tour. In Israel, he will hold talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the statement said.

Reporting by Washington Newsroom, editing by G Crosse

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