Tough Turkey talks await Tillerson

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has existed since the Western-backed creation of Israel and the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories in 1948.

US officials allowed on Friday that most of Tillerson's discussions would be hard, singling out those in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey as especially prickly given Turkish military action against USA -backed Kurdish rebels in northern Syria and escalating anti-American rhetoric in Ankara.

The top USA diplomat's visit to Ankara comes amid escalated tensions between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies over a series of disagreements, including human rights cases and the Syria crisis. The opposition is calling for a boycott of the vote after serious challengers were either arrested or forced to quit the race.

Briefing reporters on Tillerson's February 11-16 trip to Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Kuwait, U.S. officials said there would be tough conversations at each stop, notably in Jordan, upset by the U.S. decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and by the U.S. limiting aid for the Palestinians. His meetings Monday include President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

The Secretary will lead the U.S. delegation to the Ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS in Kuwait and participate in the Iraq Reconstruction Conference.

The trip will focus on the ongoing crisis in Syria and collaboration on counter-terrorism efforts, official said.

The three-day Iraq Reconstruction Conference will showcase private sector investment opportunities and global support for Iraq. -Egyptian relations, the recent efforts to counter terrorism, as well as the regional and worldwide issues of mutual concern. Instead, he'll press companies and banks to boost activities in Iraq to spur long-term development. Jordan, which has a large Palestinian population, including refugees, is among the most concerned.

Speaking of U.S. -Turkish relations, he added: "Look it's hard".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Fethullah Gulen, an exiled cleric based in the USA, of orchestrating the attempted coup. The U.S. officials said Tillerson will repeat warnings for Turkey to show restraint in military operations in Kurdish areas of Syria. He'll look to address Turkey's concerns about its borders in way to avoid killing civilians.

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