CAIRO – US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met on Monday with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Cairo, where he voiced Washington’s unconditional support for Egypt in its fight against terrorism, particularly the Islamic State terror organization.
ex Tillerson avoided criticizing Egypt’s record on human rights and political freedoms during his meetings with Al-Sisi and Shoukry in Egypt’s capital, the first stop on his Middle East tour.
“Today in Cairo, Secretary of State Tillerson and Egyptian Foreign Minister Shoukry discussed the US-Egypt partnership, cooperation on counterterrorism and the defeat of ISIS, regional security including Libya and Syria and promoting economic reform and cooperation,” the US Department of State tweeted.
Al-Sisi highlighted Egypt’s efforts in the fight against terrorism in parallel with the achievement of economic and social development, according to the Egyptian presidential spokesman, Bassam Radi.
The Egyptian leader expressed his country’s clear and firm position with respect to the Palestinian cause and urged the US, as the main mediator of peace process between Palestinians and Israelis, to revive negotiations.
Tillerson made no public reference to the controversy over the arrest or withdrawal of all serious competitors against al-Sisi in the upcoming Egyptian presidential election, saying only that “the United States, as it does in all countries, supports a transparent, credible electoral process and (that) all citizens be given the right and the opportunity to participate freely and fairly.”
The head of a minor political party, Moussa Mustafa Moussa, is the sole electoral opponent to President al-Sisi, who previously won 96.9 percent of the vote in the May 2014 election.
Tillerson then left for Kuwait, where on Tuesday he will take part in the Kuwait international conference for the reconstruction of Iraq, which kicked off Monday in the Kuwaiti capital.
The US secretary of state’s tour also includes stops in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, amid tensions with Ankara, a prominent US partner within NATO and in the region.