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US House speaker discusses security issues with Egypt's Sisi

A Cairo meeting between the speaker of the US House of Representatives and Egyptian President Sisi was attended by a large number of Egyptian MPs, Gamal Essam El-Din reports

Gamal Essam El-Din , Thursday 7 Apr 2016
Sisi and Ryan
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi meets the US House of Representatives Paul Ryan (Photo: Egyptian Presidency)
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Paul Ryan, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, held his first official meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Al on Thursday in Cairo, where they discussed security issues and bilateral cooperation.

The meeting was attended by a delegation from the US Congress and a large number of Egyptian MPs, as well as US ambassador to Cairo Steven Beercroft.

Ryan's visit comes only few days after another visit to Cairo by a delegation from the US Senate led by high-profile Republican Senator Lindsay Graham.

The meeting with Ryan involved discussions about stepping up cooperation between the Egyptian parliament and the US House of Representatives, a statement by the Egyptian parliament said.

The meeting – which was attended by representatives from most political forces in Egypt's parliament, as well as the US ambassador in Cairo – also involved discussions on terrorism and the situation in Libya and Syria.

Abdel-Al told Ryan that he has high hopes that an Egyptian-American parliamentary friendship assembly would be formed to reinforce relations between the two sides.

Sources told Ahram Online that Abdel-Al criticised the US and British stance against arming the Libyan military, saying that the chaos in Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Iraq has led to Egypt hosting five million refugees despite its own hard economic conditions.

Abdel-Al added that a militarily strong Egypt would help in preventing acts of terrorism by the Islamic State group in Europe and America.

The parliament statement also said that Abdel-Al condemned America's “hostile” stand against Egypt since the 2013 uprising ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. 

Ryan, on the other hand, said America does not support any specific political factions in Egypt.

"We support democracy in Egypt, and this why I am here, to support Egypt's elected parliament and leadership," said Ryan.

Ryan also noted that the stability of Egypt is very important for the Middle East, "this is why the US Congress chose Egypt to be the first [destination] on its current visit."

Abdel-Al said Egypt's new parliament includes an unprecedented number of women (90), Christians (39) and young MPs.

Abdel-Al also met with a delegation from the German parliament, the Bundestag, belonging to the ruling Democratic Christian Party.

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