The US State Department has released a factsheet on US-Egyptian relations, describing Egypt as one of the United States’ longest-standing strategic partners in the Middle East.
The factsheet release comes as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to meet with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and other Egyptian officials for talks in Cairo Thursday.
"Egypt plays a vital role in regional security and stability through its counterterrorism efforts, support for the UN-facilitated political process in Libya, efforts to counter the Iranian regime’s malicious activities, and the maintenance of the Egypt-Israel Treaty of Peace, which will see its 40th anniversary this March," the State Department release said.
"The deep commercial, security, and people-to-people relationships between our two countries are rooted in mutual interest and respect, as well as our shared commitment to combating terrorism and fostering the conditions for prosperity,” the release said, quoting comments made by Pompeo in July.
"The US and Egypt share many security interests and enjoy a strong security partnership, which includes cooperation on overflight requests and Suez Canal transit, and an unwavering commitment to the defeat of ISIS (the Islamic State group). Egypt also works to counter the flow of foreign fighters, material, and financial support to terrorists."
President El-Sisi has been "a steadfast partner in the anti-terror fight and a courageous voice in denouncing the radical Islamist ideology that fuels it," the State Department release noted.
"The United States seeks broadened and deepened cooperation with Egypt, including on issues of human rights and civil society. We believe nation-states progress when all citizens enjoy basic freedoms.
"As we seek a stronger partnership, we encourage President Sisi to unleash the creative energies of the Egyptian people, unfetter the economy, and promote a free and open exchange of ideas.
"The United States welcomes the acquittal of the employees of US NGOs who were wrongly convicted of improperly operating in Egypt. We strongly support President Sisi’s initiative to amend Egyptian law to prevent future miscarriages of justice," the release stated.
"The United States applauds President Sisi’s efforts to promote religious freedom, which stand as an example for all leaders and peoples of the Middle East.
"The Secretary (Pompeo) is eager to discuss how the United States can help support President El-Sisi’s efforts to reform religious discourse and promote interfaith tolerance, as evidenced by the recent opening of the new Coptic Cathedral and the Al-Fattah Al-Alim Mosque."
On promoting joint economic opportunities through a stable prosperous Egyptian economy, the release affirmed Egypt has one of the most diversified economies in the Middle East.
"Under President Sisi’s leadership, Egypt is undertaking many important initiatives, including on the economic and energy fronts. The United States encourages a greater role for the private sector in the Egyptian economy.
"Total bilateral trade in goods between the United States and Egypt was $5.0 billion in 2016. Egypt and the United States signed a Bilateral Investment Treaty in 1982 to promote and facilitate investment between our countries.
"America’s Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with Egypt helps support freer trade and increased investment flows, helping to advance both countries’ economic interests.
"With US support, the IMF’s $12 billion Extended Fund Facility program has supported Egypt’s homegrown economic reforms and prospects for strong growth and employment generation.
"OPIC’s recent provision of $430 million in political risk insurance for oil and gas projects supports Egyptian goals of improved energy self-sufficiency and job creation, and will help create a better integrated regional energy market.
"US assistance to Egypt has helped bolster regional stability.
"Since 1980, the United States has provided Egypt with more than $40 billion in military and $30 billion in economic assistance to advance shared interests between the US, Egypt and the region.
"This military assistance supports Egypt’s maritime and border security, as well as its counterterrorism fight.
"Economic assistance has brought improved education, clean water, better health, economic growth, antiquities and heritage preservation, and numerous other benefits to the Egyptian people," the State Department release concluded.