US, Egypt Steadfast in Fight Against ISIS- Tillerson

US, Egypt Steadfast in Fight Against ISIS- Tillerson

Monday, 12 February, 2018 - 14:30
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry meets with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Cairo, Egypt February 12, 2018. REUTERS/Khaled Elfiqi/Pool
Asharq Al Awsat
The United States and Egypt reaffirmed on Monday their commitment to battle ISIS militants in the Middle East as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held talks with Egyptian officials in Cairo at the start of his week-long trip to the region.

"We agreed that we would continue our close cooperation on counterterrorism measures, including our joint commitment to the defeat of ISIS," Tillerson said.

"The Egyptian people should be confident that the US commitment to continue to support Egypt in fight against terrorism and bringing security to Egyptian people is steadfast."

Speaking at a joint news conference with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, the two diplomats cited productive discussions on regional security and the struggle against the ISIS group, whose Egyptian affiliate, based in the Sinai Peninsula, has struck military and civilian targets across the Arab world's most populous country.

Tillerson stressed that Egypt was an important part of the anti-ISIS coalition and that Washington was "committed to strengthening this partnership in the years to come."

"We highly value the support the US gives us in this war," Shoukry said.

Tillerson arrived in Egypt at the start of a regional tour amid heightened tensions between Israel and Syria after an Israeli F-16 aircraft was shot down. It also follows a major security operation by the Egyptian military to crush Islamist militants who have killed hundreds of people since 2013.

The campaign also comes ahead of March elections in which President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi faces no serious competitors. Sisi, who will hold talks with Tillerson later in the day, says he is the only one who can bring stability to the country.

Asked about his country's view of the upcoming vote, Tillerson said the US always advocates for free and fair elections and would continue to do so.

"We have always advocated for free and fair elections, transparent elections, not just for Egypt but any country," Tillerson said.

After his talks with Sisi, Tillerson is traveling on to Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, where he will meet local officials as well as Saudi, Emirati, Iraqi and Syrian delegations.

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