US media criticism will not affect Egypt: Egypt's foreign ministry

Ahram Online , Wednesday 29 Jul 2015

Sameh Shoukry is to hold talks on mutual ties and regional issues with his counterpart, US Secretary of State John Kerry, as part of a new round of strategic dialogue starting Sunday

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on the sidelines of the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism at the State Department in Washington February 19, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

"Criticism in US media outlets will not be taken into consideration as long as they are not official statements," foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdel Atty told Al-Ahram Arabic website.

Atty's statement came after a report titled "Where is Egypt Heading," by Elliott Abrams, criticised human rights violations in Egypt.

Abrams is an influential voice in US foreign policy circles. Currently Abrams is a senior fellow in Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC. Previously he was special assistant to former President George W Bush in 2001.

Last week a message was sent to Kerry that urged him "to seize the upcoming US­­–Egypt Strategic Dialogue as an opportunity to press the Government of Egypt to end its campaign of indiscriminate repression in order to advance a more effective strategy for countering violent extremism."

"All we care about is that Obama and Kerry have stated the importance to strengthen ties between Egypt and US and need to act accordingly," said Abdel Atty.

He added that the importance of the Egyptian-US strategic dialogue is in discussing bilateral and global relations between the two countries.

On Sunday, the strategic dialogue will take place in Cairo. Talks between the two countries will be headed by Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry and his counterpart, Kerry.

In a statement, Atty said the upcoming dialogue is aimed to boost the bilateral strategic partnership between Egypt and US, especially after relations between Cairo and Washington became strained during the past two years.

"This dialogue is to have a fresh start with the US, especially with the new transition Egypt is taking," said Abdel Atty.

Relations between Egypt and US became tense when the US maintained a critical position towards the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

On 11 June, the US House of Representatives agreed on the budget of the fiscal year 2016. No changes were made to the level of military aid to Egypt.

Egypt and the US have maintained a decades-long strategic political and military relationship with Washington providing Cairo with $1.3 billion in military aid annually.

Relations between the two countries have started to warm up in recent months as Egypt announced its support for the US war against the Islamic State group and stressed that it considers its own war against Islamist militants in Sinai to be part of international efforts against terrorism.

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