Egypt's FM says US aid is crucial for Cairo's anti-terrorism fight, regional stability

Ahram Online , Wednesday 1 Mar 2017

Sameh Shoukry in talks with Kay Granger discussed Egypt's reform efforts and ways to bolster ties with the US

Shoukry and Granger
Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry and leading congresswoman and chair of the powerful Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Kay Granger during a Washington meeting (Photo Courtesy of Egypt foreign ministry)

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Tuesday the continuation of US aid is crucial for Egypt in its fight against terrorism along with the country's efforts to maintain stability and peace in the region.

Shoukry made his remarks during a meeting with leading congresswoman and chair of the powerful Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Kay Granger, during his current visit to Washington in preparation for an anticipated trip in March by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

Shoukry and Granger discussed the US military and economic aid programme and Egyptian-US ties, a statement by the foreign ministry said. Talks also addressed Egypt's social and economic reform programme and the country's view of the challenges in the region.

The foreign minister affirmed "the importance of the continuation of the US aid to Egypt so the country can face mounting challenges of combating terrorism [and other challenges] associated with bolstering stability and peace in the Middle East," the statement said.

The ministry quoted the congresswoman as saying that Congress would work towards bolstering cooperation between the two allies, mainly in counter-terrorism efforts.

Egypt has been receiving $1.3 billion in US military aid yearly since signing the peace treaty with Israel in 1979, with the 2016 package including $150 million in economic assistance. The aid was suspended following the 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi for almost two years on US concerns over the country's progress towards democracy. The freeze was ended in mid-2015 with new conditions on the aid imposed.

Observers say President El-Sisi and the adminstration of new US President Donald Trump appear to be more aligned than to the administration of former President Barack Obama. Officials of both countries have said they expect greater cooperation in the near future.

Also on Tuesday, Shoukry held talks with Congressman David Trott in which the duo discussed Egypt's economic reform efforts and transition to democracy.

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