Kerry lands in Cairo for talks on anti-IS coalition

Ahram Online and AFP, Saturday 13 Sep 2014

US Secretary of State John Kerry is to seek the approval of Al-Azhar for efforts to confront the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq

US Secretary of State John Kerry , Sept. 10, 2014 (Photo: AP)

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived Saturday in Cairo on the latest leg of a regional tour to forge a coalition against Islamic State jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

Kerry is scheduled to meet Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Arab League chief Nabil Al-Arabi.

Washington is also seeking a stamp of approval for its campaign from Egypt's religious institutions, including the prestigious Al-Azhar, the highest authority in Sunni Islam.

"One of the issues is to have their religious institutions to speak out against ISIL (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant), to talk about it in Friday sermons," a US official travelling with Kerry told reporters.

"They (the Egyptians) are concerned about foreign fighters, an issue that has aggravated their domestic terrorism," the official said.

Kerry kicked off his trip to the Middle East Tuesday, launching a diplomatic initiative aimed at building a coalition against the extremist Islamic State group.

The top US diplomat headed to Baghdad Wednesday from Jordan, the first stop on his tour.

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