U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to visit Egypt Wednesday

Tuesday 19-04-2016 06:31 PM

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri in Cairo Jun. 22, 2014. REUTERS

CAIRO, Apr 19 (Aswat Masriya) – The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will arrive in Cairo on Wednesday for a short visit, Egypt’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abo Zeid said in a statement that Kerry will meet President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri.

The meetings will tackle bilateral relations and regional issues. 

The visit comes days after Sisi’s meeting with U.S. Central Command's (CENTCOM) Joseph Votel, which tackled enhancing cooperation between the two countries.

Established in 1983, CENTCOM is a military command responsible for operations in the area of the Middle East, "central area of the globe", except for Israel. 

Also in April, a U.S. congress delegation arrived in Cairo led by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.

Graham said in a press conference then that the U.S. is working to support Egypt’s economy despite differences between Washington and Egypt over the human rights situation in Egypt.

The U.S. has largely criticized the human rights issue in Egypt in several statements.

The U.S Department of State highlighted in a recent global report the human rights “problems” in Egypt, which included the restrictions on academic freedom and civil society as well as the impunity for security forces and harsh prison conditions. 

Kerry expressed “deep concern” over the “deterioration” of the human rights situation in Egypt, in a statement in March following a decision by Egypt to reopen the investigation into the foreign funding case.

The case  dates back to 2011 and has brought heavy criticism to Egypt since it started with Egyptian authorities raiding several NGOs and launching an investigation into foreign funding received by NGOs. 

Egypt's relations with the U.S. were strained when the U.S. temporarily suspended its military aid to the Middle Eastern country following the army's ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013, after protests against his rule.

The aid is worth $1.3 billion, making Egypt the second largest recipient of U.S. aid after Israel.

The U.S. resumed its aid to Egypt in March 2015.

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