U.S. Defense Secretary Arrives In Kurdistan Region
U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis arrived in the Kurdistan Region following his unannounced visit to Baghdad on Tuesday (August 22).
Mattis is expected to meet with Masoud Barzani in Erbil.
Reuters cited a U.S. official as saying Mattis would press Barzani to postpone a planned referendum on the independence of Kurdistan, set for September 25.
Mattis arrived in Baghdad on Tuesday morning and met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Defense Minister Arfan al-Hiyali.
U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Mattis would discuss the future of U.S. forces in Iraq after the fall of the remaining cities under Islamic State (ISIS) control and the role they could play in stabilizing operations, Reuters reported.
Mattis arrived in Jordan's capital city of Amman on Monday as part of a trip to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to strategic partnerships in the Middle East and Europe.
He was received by Prince Faisal Bin Hussein and Lt. Gen. Mahmoud Freihat. He also held meetings with King Abdullah.
Mattis will also travel to NATO-ally Turkey on Wednesday (August 23) where he will meet top Turkish officials including President Tayyip Erdogan.