Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met with his US counterpart John Kerry in Cairo on Sunday for the strategic dialogue between both countries, the first meeting of its kind in six years.
The meeting comes a few days after the US resumed its military aid to Egypt, by releasing eight F-16 fighter jets to the country after two years of suspended military aid. During the meeting, the ministers discussed bilateral relations in terms of countering terrorism and investment opportunities in light of current events, in addition to regional issues such Libya, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Palestine.
“We are sure Egypt has what it takes to support its citizens, press freedom, and also women’s rights. It is the centre of the Middle East and the whole region, and it could regain its power by maintaining steps to develop the economy and counter terrorism,” Kerry said in his opening statement. “Good governance rules are much more expensive than oil and materialistic goods, and in the US, we still face a lot of struggles in the road of reforms,” he added.
According to Kerry, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has made notable progress in the energy sector, and has overcome the power-outage crisis compared to last summer. He also mentioned the new investments law, which is expected to facilitate the set up process for new investors in Egypt, as one of the achievements that will potentially increase mutual cooperation between both countries.
Meanwhile, Shoukry said during the opening of the dialogue sessions: “This event is an opportunity to renew relations between both countries. I hope Egypt will utilise the investment environment in Egypt nowadays, as we acknowledge its influential and leading role in several international issues.”
Yousry El-Ezbawy, a political researcher at the Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies (ACPSS) told Daily News Egypt: “The meeting is considered an improvement in the US-Egyptian relations since the 30 June uprisings.”
He added: “For the first time, the US sent military aid without conditions related to human rights issues, and this resulted from the Egyptian side’s endeavours to decentralise its source of weapons, away from the US and directed towards the East, and Russia in particular.”
Egyptian-Russian relations have become increasingly important since President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi took office. Joint military exercises usually highlight a certain closeness between the participants, and the two countries have signed a protocol on military cooperation earlier this year.