Egypt’s Minister of Defence Sedki Sobhi and the commander of US Central Command (CENTCOM) Joseph L Votel (Photo:Egyptian army)
Egypt’s Minister of Defence Sedki Sobhi met with the commander of US Central Command, General Joseph L. Votel, on Sunday to discuss military cooperation between the two countries.
In an official statement on its Facebook page, the Egyptian army said the meeting, which took place in Cairo, tackled regional and international efforts to counter terrorism amid latest developments in the MENA region.
Sobhi said that he looked forward to increasing cooperation in many fields, the two parties underlining the significance of military cooperation between their respective countries.
The senior US commander also met with Egyptian Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Mahmoud Hegazy, the two discussing a number of issues of common interest, including strengthening cooperation in the military field and sharing expertise between the two armies.
For his part, Votel hailed Egypt’s efforts to counter terrorism, saying Egypt “represents a major and powerful force in the region.”
The meeting was attended by a number of military leaders, according to the army’s statement.
The US general, who last visited Egypt in August 2016, arrived in Cairo Sunday for meetings with senior Egyptian leaders to “explore ways to strengthen the US-Egypt partnership in the fight against terrorism and in promoting stability throughout the Middle East region,” according to a press release by the US embassy.
“Egypt is one of our most important partners in the region,” General Votel was quoted as saying in the press release.
CENTCOM's area of responsibility covers 20 nations at the intersection of three continents and globally vital commercial sea lanes, flight corridors, pipelines, and overland routes.
Earlier on Sunday, Votel met with Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi who told him Egypt "has spared no effort" to combat terrorism and extremism in the past three years.
Presidential spokesperson Alaa Youssef noted that El-Sisi said the increased threat of terrorism in the Middle East and around the world highlights the importance of increased coordination at the international level to create a comprehensive strategy to face it.
For the past months, Egypt has received several US delegations to discuss its fight against terrorism, as well as means of cooperation and bolstering of ties, hoping that the new US administration would bring a new era in close relations with Cairo.
In January, US President Donald Trump told El-Sisi his administration is committed to maintaining the US's annual military aid to Egypt.
Egypt’s foreign minister is in Washington DC this week to prepare for El-Sisi’s upcoming visit and meeting with US President Trump in March, the first such visit for an Egyptian president since the rule of Hosni Mubarak.
Egypt annually receives $1.3 billion in military aid from the United States.