Egypt s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi during his meeting with US Senator Robert Menendez , the chairman of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, in Cairo on Thursday (photo courtesy of Egyptian Presidency)
Senator Menendez’s remarks came during his meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo that was also attended by Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Head of Egyptian General Intelligence Service Abbas Kamel and the US Ambassador to Cairo Jonathan Cohen.
Menendez also expressed deep appreciation for Egypt's successful role in combating terrorism and extremist ideology, and in establishing noble concepts and values of freedom of belief and tolerance as well as the culture of acceptance of others, a presidential statement said.
From his side, El-Sisi highlighted Egypt's keenness to strengthen the “decades-old strategic relations” with the US, especially in light of the turbulent regional reality and its escalating challenges, chief of which is the growing threat of terrorism.
The president also pointed out the importance of communication with US Congressional leaders on various issues, the presidential statement said.
In this regard, Menendez stressed the great importance the US attaches to its relations with Egypt, praising at the same time the distinguished level of cooperation between the two countries.
GERD talk resumption
El-Sisi and Menendez also discussed the developments of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) issue in light of the “existing and continuous” coordination between the two countries in this regard, the statement said.
The Egyptian president stressed during their meeting the importance of the commitment to implement what was stated in the UN Security Council’s (UNSC) presidential statement, which was issued in September.
El-Sisi added that according to the UNSC’s presidential statement all parties should work towards reaching a legal, fair and binding agreement within a short period that guarantees clear rules for the process of filling and operating the GERD and achieves the common interests of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.
Rounds of African Union-sponsored talks to resolve the decade-long dispute between Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan have been deadlocked since April.
Driven by the presidential statement from the UNSC, the talks are soon to be resumed under the sponsorship of the AU at an undisclosed date.
Egypt and Sudan have called for maximising the international role in endorsing the AU-sponsored negotiations on the GERD dispute, with Egypt calling such a role “indispensable.”
The Chairman of the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee reiterated the US administration's appreciation for the Egyptian efforts towards calming the Gaza Strip and containing the latest escalation, the presidential statement noted.
In May, Egypt sponsored a ceasefire deal between Israel and Palestinian factions within the Gaza Strip to end an 11-day episode of Israeli military aggression on Gaza, during which more than 250 Palestinians, including 66 children, were killed.
El-Sisi affirmed to Menendez Egypt's support for various efforts aimed at revitalizing the peace process and resuming negotiations, the statement said.
He also stressed Egypt's firm stance in this regard to reach a just and comprehensive resolution that guarantees the rights of the Palestinian people and the establishment of their independent state in accordance with international resolutions, in a way that opens up prospects for peaceful coexistence among all the peoples of the region.
Earlier the same day, Menendez held a separate meeting in Cairo with Shoukry where they discussed the latest developments concerning regional and international issues, a statement by the Egyptian foreign ministry said.