Tuesday, March 10, 2015

#Kerry to meet #Sisi on margins of #Egypt's economic conference

US Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Egypt on 12 March to attend the conference in Sharm El-Sheikh

Sisi and Kerry

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (R) and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talk before a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Cairo June 22, 2014

US Secretary of State John Kerry is set to meet Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi when he travels to Sharm El-Sheikh on 12 March for the Economic Development Conference.

He is expected to hold talks with El-Sisi and senior Egyptian officials on bilateral and global relations, including “coalition efforts” against Islamic State (ISIS) militants, as well as developments in Libya and in Syria, US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement on Monday.

“The United States is committed to strengthening its long-term strategic and economic partnership with Egypt,” she said.

Kerry has met with El-Sisi twice since the president was elected in June 2014.

“We continue to work with the Egyptian government to help the Egyptian people stabilize and grow the economy, create jobs, educate young people, improve access to health care, and to help realize the aspirations of the Egyptian people for an inclusive, rights- and freedoms-respecting, and peaceful political climate,” the statement added.

Egypt and the US have maintained a decades-long strategic political and military relationship with Washington providing Cairo with $1.3 billion in military aid annually.

However, relations between Cairo and Washington became strained when the US maintained a critical position towards the ousting of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, and the subsequent government crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.

Following the ouster of Morsi, the US suspended parts of its military aid to Egypt 

Relations between the two countries have started to warm up in recent months as Egypt announced its support for the US war against IS in the region and stressed that it considers its own war against Islamist militants in Sinai to be part of international efforts against terrorism.

In November, Washington released ten Apache helicopter in military aid to help Cairo fight Islamist militants in Sinai.

However, the pentagon continues to withhold the delivery of several weapons systems to Egypt, including 16 F-16s fighter jets, M1A1 tanks and Harpoon missiles.