Egypt's foreign minister meets with US House speaker during visit to Washington

Ahram Online , Friday 2 Dec 2016

Sameh Shoukry
Egypt's FM Sameh Shoukry meets United States Speaker of the House Paul Ryan on Friday (Photo: the foreign ministry spokesman's Twitter account)

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met with United States Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan on Friday, saying the meeting was to "highlight the strategic relations between Egypt and the US."

On the third day of his visit to Washington, Shoukry also met with other Congressional leaders.

"[It was a] very fruitful meeting between Minister Shoukry and Speaker of the House Ryan, reinforcing Egypt US relations," a spokesman for the Egyptian foreign ministry said on Twitter.

Shoukry began his trip by signing a bilateral memorandum of understanding with his US counterpart John Kerry on Wednesday, imposing restrictions on the illegal selling of Egypt's archaeological material.

Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid noted that the agreement is "considered the first signed by the United States with a country in the Middle East in this field."

Shoukry also met Wednesday with vice president-elect Mike Pence to relay a verbal message from Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi. Shoukry is the first Arab official to meet with the vice president-elect.

El-Sisi's message emphasised the importance of long-lasting and strategic relations between Egypt and the United States, and that Egypt looks forward to strengthening cooperation with the new administration.

On Thursday, Shoukry held intensive talks with leaders of the US Congress in both chambers, including ranking members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, to discuss "regional challenges in the Middle East and the role of the Egyptian army in promoting stability in the region," Abu Zeid said.

The officials also discussed recent economic, political and social developments in Egypt.

On the margins of his visit, Shoukry attended on Thursday a reception organized and hosted by the Egyptian Embassy in Washington to celebrate the repatriation of four Egyptian artefacts that were smuggled into the United States.

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