23 March 2018 01:33 AM

Shoukry, Tillerson start session of talks

Monday، 12 February 2018 - 12:57 PM
Shoukry, Tillerson start session of talks in Cairo

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry had on Monday 12/2/2018 a session of talks with US Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, currently visiting Egypt.

The Egyptian-US talks dealt with several regional and international issues of common interest.
Following their talks, the two sides will hold a joint press conference.
On Sunday, Tillerson arrived in Cairo on a regional tour that also includes Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Kuwait.
Earlier, US State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said that Tillerson is scheduled to meet senior Egyptian officials to discuss Egyptian-US partnership and a raft of key regional issues.
Joint Press Conferance

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that he agreed with US Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson on holding the US-Egypt Strategic Dialogue at the level of foreign ministers in the second half of 2018.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Tillerson on Monday 12/2/2018, Shoukry said there is going to be a new mechanism for cooperation with Washington. Cooperation talks between the two sides will be held under a "2+2 formula" involving the two countries' foreign and defense ministers, he added.

Shoukry welcomed Tillerson on his first visit to Egypt, saying his visit followed a recent successful visit by US Vice President Mike Pence, in addition to meetings held between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and US President Donald Trump that helped shore up Egyptian-US ties.

He further lauded the United States support for Egypt's efforts to achieve development, reform and stability, fight terrorism and find a peaceful settlement to regional crises.

Shoukry said that he discussed with Tillerson a proposal presented by the latter to set up a new mechanism to boost bilateral cooperation within the framework of the "2+2" strategic dialogue involving the foreign and defense ministers of the two countries.

The US state secretary is scheduled to have talks with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi later in the day, Shoukry noted, deeming as "positive" his talks with Tillerson on a host of regional issues.

He added they discussed Egypt's ongoing war on terrorism that aims at purging Sinai of terrorists.

He went on to say: "We do appreciate the United States' support for Egypt in its war on terrorism and full coordination to fight terrorism not only from the security perspective, but also from the political perspective...a matter that will help completely eradicate this phenomenon."

Speaking at the joint press conference with Shoukry, Tillerson said "We agreed we would continue our close cooperation on counterterrorism measures."

He also expressed the United States' support for Egypt’s fight against Daesh group, conveying his country's condolences to Egypt over the victims of terrorist and hostile acts.

"The Egyptian people should be confident that the US commitment to continuing to support Egypt in its fight against terrorism and efforts to bring security to Egyptian people is steadfast," he said.

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

"The US is always supportive of any electoral process that respects rights of citizens," he stressed.

He also extolled key steps taken by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to achieve economic reform in the country and commitment to the International Monetary Fund's demands.

He pledged to continue to shore up Egypt's economy and encourage US companies to beef up investments in the country.

As for the Palestinian issue, Tillerson said that Washington remained committed to achieving a lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Responding to a question by US reporters on the inability of any candidate to compete in the upcoming presidential elections in Egypt, US Secretary of State Tillerson said the US has repeatedly asserted its keenness on free and fair elections not only in Egypt but also in all other countries in the world.

People in any country in the world should always be given the right to choose, he said noting that this is what the US believes in. This is the US stance ... and this stance has not changed, he stated.

Shoukry, the Egyptian top diplomat, said the party that raised the question should determine by itself the conditions of human rights in the country. He also lashed out at criticism by some civil society and human rights organizations regarding restrictions on the elections. The Egyptian diplomat said some entities consider the situation from their own perspective only and not from a broader one.

Shoukry also highlighted freedom of press and the variety presented by TV channels on the social and economic diversity in Egypt.

He also noted that the Egyptian people have proven their ability to make great changes through two revolutions that have changed two regimes within a period of seven years.

The Egyptians are determined to go forward and keep their freedom and political stability, Shoukry stated, suggesting that the media could directly talk to Egyptian citizens on the street to get briefed on their opinions.

Shoukry also asserted that his talks with Tillerson focused on means of reaching a political and economic stability in Egypt, asserting that the Egyptian government was determined to continue its march with the aim of achieving prosperity for its people.

He also reiterated that the Egyptians know how to protect their rights and will make decisions.

Responding to a question on the US insistence to float the so-called "deal of the century" despite the Arab and Islamic rejection of the US decision to relocate its embassy to Al Quds, Tillerson said President Donald Trump has mentioned during his announcement that there would not be any change in the final status of al Quds and the final situation will be negotiated among the concerned parties.

He asserted that the US is still committed to backing the peace process and Washington still has an important role to play to bring closer viewpoints of the parties.

Shoukry, for his part, said the Palestinian cause has taken much part of today's consultations, asserting that the two sides agreed on the importance of continuing work to resolve the Palestinian-Israel conflict based on the two-state solution and the role of the US to work out a final settlement.

Egypt will continue its efforts with the US, the European Union as well as regional and international bodies to contribute to any action that would ease the negotiations and reach an understanding with the partners involved in the peace process.

On the approval of the US vice president on holding talks with North Korea, Tillerson said it is early to judge the issue and if North Korea is keen to enter a serious dialogue, there should be conditions to be fulfilled before starting any talks.

Shoukry, for his part, said diplomatic ties between Egypt and North Korea are restricted to diplomatic representation only and there is not any economic cooperation of any type. He highlighted the importance of handling any nuclear threats to maintain international security and stability worldwide.


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