US Secretary of State Tillerson to meet with Egypt's President Sisi, FM Shoukry in Cairo on Monday

Ahram Online , Sunday 11 Feb 2018

File photo: U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry during a meeting at the State Department in February 2017 (Photo: Reuters)

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will meet with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Cairo on Monday during the first leg of his visit to the region, a statement by Egypt's foreign ministry read.

Egypt's foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said on Sunday that a press conference would be held between counterparts Tillerson and Shoukry, but did not provide information as to the nature of discussion between the two sides.

On Thursday, the US Embassy in Egypt announced Tillerson is set to travel to Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Kuwait during a regional visit beginning 11 February and lasting until 16 February.

"The secretary will meet with senior Egyptian officials in Cairo to discuss the US-Egypt partnership, how we can further strengthen it, and coordinate on key regional issues," read the statement by the US Embassy, which includes details about Tillerson's itinerary to other countries.

On Friday, a senior State Department official said during a special briefing that Tillerson will discuss "a range of issues with the Egyptians, including regional issues of mutual concern such as Libya and Syria, our shared commitment to fighting terrorism, Israeli-Palestinian issues and our efforts to move the prospects for peace forward, and other topics pertaining to the bilateral relationship and how it can be further strengthened."

He described the visit to Egypt, described as "a key stategic partner" of the US in the region, as an "opportunity for him [Tillerson] to further build upon the strengthening of the relationship that has occurred over the past year in the array of senior-level engagement that there has been – most recently the Vice President’s visit just a few weeks ago."

In January, US Vice President Mike Pence met with Egyptian President El-Sisi in Cairo before heading to Jordan and Israel.

El-Sisi told Vice President Pence that only negotiations based on a two-state solution can end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, six weeks after President Donald Trump's announcement that the US would recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

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