Kerry meets Sisi in Cairo, says U.S. 'committed' to Egypt stability

Wednesday 20-04-2016 07:33 PM

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi meets with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday Apr.20, 2016. Presidency Handout

CAIRO, Apr 20 (Aswat Masriya) - The United States is "deeply committed to the stability of Egypt," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday after his meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo.

As Kerry made his short visit to Egypt, U.S. President Barack Obama also started on Wednesday a Middle East trip that does not include a stop in Cairo.

Kerry is set to join Obama to attend the summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Saudi Arabia.

According to a statement by the Egyptian presidency, Sisi discussed with Kerry developments in neighbouring Libya and in Syria.

On his side, Kerry said his meeting with Sisi was "very serious and very constructive."

"We talked, of course, about politics, about Syria, about Libya, where there are real challenges and where Egypt is being enormously helpful. We have mutual interests in the security of the region," he added. 

Kerry also mentioned "differences" between the two sides over the internal situation in Egypt. 

He said that he and the Egyptian president "talked about ways in which we can hopefully resolve some of the differences and questions that have arisen about the internal politics and choices for the people of Egypt."

On the same day of Kerry's visit, Egypt saw a court hearing in a high-profile case in which a number of civil society organisations are accused of receiving foreign funding illegally.

When Cairo decided to reopen investigation into the case in March, Kerry expressed in a statement “deep concern” over the “deterioration” of the human rights situation in Egypt.

Egypt's foreign ministry rejected the statement by Kerry then.

In April, 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. 

Egypt receives $1.3 billion of military aid from the U.S. annually, which makes it the second largest recipient of U.S. aid after Israel. 

But Egyptian-U.S. relations were strained especially after Washington temporarily suspended its military aid to the Middle Eastern country several months after the military ouster of then-President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in July 2013, following protests against his rule.

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

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