John Kerry in Egypt to discuss political transition, security issues

Updated - November 17, 2021 04:21 am IST

Published - June 22, 2014 07:11 pm IST - Cairo

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, talks with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi before a meeting at the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt on Sunday.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, talks with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi before a meeting at the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt on Sunday.

Secretary of State John Kerry discussed with Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukri on Sunday ways the United States can support Egypt during its period of political transition following the upheaval wrought by the 2011 revolution.

The top U.S. diplomat is the highest-level American official to visit the country since ex-Army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was sworn in as President earlier this month.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Mr. Kerry stressed the importance of U.S.-Egyptian cooperation for the stability of the region and discussed ways the two governments can fight threats, including terrorism.

The talks “focused on ways to improve relations within the transition process taking place in Egypt and the United States’ contribution to support the process through economic and other means of aid,” the statement added.

Mr. Kerry is scheduled to meet with civil society figures before heading to the Ittihadiya presidential palace to meet with Mr. el-Sissi.

The two are expected to discuss the widening unrest and spread of extremism in Iraq, Syria and Libya.

His visit aims to reaffirm the “strong partnership between the two countries”, according to State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

Ties between Egypt and the United States have been strained since the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsy last year, when Washington suspended its annual 1.5-billion-dollar aid to Egypt, most of which was directed to the army.

The U.S. administration has repeatedly voiced concerns over Egypt’s crackdown on Islamist supporters of Mr. Morsy and other opposition figures.

Prior to the visit, State Department officials have said that Mr. Kerry will voice concerns about a range of issues regarding the political environment, including the anti-protest law and the imprisonment of journalist and secular activists as well as mass trials.

However, officials have also said there were few positive signs since Mr. el-Sissi took office, including the release of hunger-striking journalist Abdullah al-Shami after 10 months in custody as well as steps taken to address sexual harassment.

They added that around 570 million dollars in aid to Egypt were recently released about 10 days ago, eight months after they were frozen.

On Saturday, an Egyptian court confirmed the death sentences of 183 people over the violence that erupted following Mr. Morsy’s ouster.

Authorities have also arrested more than 20 activists for holding a rally against the anti-protests law.

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