US Secretary of State promises Egypt FM more aid for Cairo's counter-terrorism efforts

Mahmoud Aziz , Monday 27 Feb 2017

Sameh Shoukry
Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (left) during a meeting with his American counterpart Rex Tillerson in Washington on Monday 27 February(Photo: U.S. Department of State)

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson promised more aid for Cairo's counter-terrorism efforts and economic development plan during a meeting with Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry in Washington on Monday, adding that the Washington considers Cairo a real partner in the Middle East, state news agency MENA reported.

The two officials stressed during their meeting the special and strategic ties that have binded the two countries for decades, vowing more cooperation on all levels. 
Shoukry arrived in Washington on Sunday for talks with US officials, which will include meetings with National Security Adviser Raymond McMaster as well as some leading representatives from Congress. 
Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said that Shoukry updated his US counterpart on the latest economic and security developments in Egypt, as well as the country's counter-terrorism efforts. 
The two ministers also discussed a range of regional issues, including the Syrian crisis, where Shoukry stressed the importance of reaching a political solution to the conflict in a way that preserves the country's territorial integrity and national institutions and achieves the hopes of the Syrian people.
Shoukry also spoke with Tillerson about Egypt's political efforts to end the crisis in Libya in accordance with the UN-brokered Skhirat agreement of 2015.
On the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Egyptian FM stressed the necessity of establishing a Palestinian state, pointing to Cairo's efforts to return both sides to the negotiating table.
Shoukry will also discuss with US officials preparations for Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi's upcoming visit to the US to meet with President Donald Trump, which will be the first meeting between an Egyptian and US president in years. 
The last official meeting in Washington of the countries' two leaders was between former presidents Hosni Mubarak and George W. Bush in 2004.
Rhetoric from both sides since Trump's election late last year has been warm, in contrast with relations under the administration of Barack Obama, which grew strained after the ouster of Egypt's Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
Shortly after the ouster of Morsi, which the Obama administration described as a "military coup," Washington temporarily suspended the $1.3 billion in annual US military aid to Egypt.
However, the military aid to Cairo was resumed in 2015.
Egypt has been fighting an Islamist insurgency for several years in North Sinai.
Militants have killed hundreds of security personnel. The army also killed hundreds of insurgents.
El-Sisi was the first world leader to congratulate Trump on his election as president in November 2016.
The Egyptian president met with then-presidential candidate Trump in September last year on the sidelines of the 71st UN General Assembly in New York.
Trump described his meeting with El-Sisi as "productive and great."
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