Egypt, US discuss counter-terrorism efforts

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi met Saturday with U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis in the Egyptian capital Cairo to discuss strategic cooperation and joint counter-terrorism efforts.
“Sisi stressed the strength of the Egyptian-U.S. relations and their distinguished strategic aspects, urging to enhance all aspects of cooperation between the two sides particularly in the military field,” Egypt’s presidential spokesman Bassam Rady said in a statement.
He added that Mattis expressed U.S. keenness to promote cooperation with Egypt as a key player to maintain stability and security in the Middle East region, underscoring U.S. support for Egypt’s war against terrorism.
The meeting was attended by Egyptian Defense Minister Sedqi Sobhi, who met with Mattis earlier in the day, as well as a number of senior military officials from both sides.
Talks between Egyptian and U.S. defense ministers discussed a number of topics related to military cooperation, joint military drills and the exchange of expertise in different fields, said Egypt’s military spokesman Tamer al-Refaay in a statement.
Egypt’s ties with the United States deteriorated after the Egyptian military ousted former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 in response to mass protests.
The move has led to the suspension of U.S. military aid to Egypt and the cancellation of the largest joint military exercise between the two countries, known as Bright Star, by former U.S. President Barack Obama.
The bilateral ties improved under the new U.S. administration of Donald Trump, who pledged to resume the annual military aid to the key regional ally.

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