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During Shoukry's visit to Washington: Extended talks between the foreign ministers of Egypt and the United States


the two ministers sign a bilateral memorandum of understanding concerning the imposition of import restrictions on archaeological material of Egypt


 Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid said Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry held talks with his US counterpart John Kerry on Wednesday evening, November 30, during Shoukry’s current visit to Washington. The meeting witnessed the signing of a bilateral memorandum of understanding concerning the imposition of import restrictions on archaeological material of Egypt, which is considered the first agreement signed by the United States with a country in the Middle East in this area. The agreement is also a positive and important model for the development of rules, restrictions and obligations to prevent illegal smuggling of antiquities and confront this phenomenon that has spread in many parts of the world during the recent period. 

The spokesperson indicated that talks between Shoukry and Kerry lasted for more than an hour and a half, during which they touched upon many regional issues, particularly the situation in Libya, Syria, Yemen and the Palestinian issue, as well as bilateral relations between Egypt and the UnitedState. The foreign minister was keen to update his US counterpart on the details of Egypt’s economic and social reform program, and the measures recently taken by the Egyptian government on this track. He stressed that all these measures demonstrate Egypt’s seriousness in the face of economic challenges, highlighting that the Egyptian government has taken crucial and difficult long-awaited decisions to address economic conditions and radically transform the economic structure in the country. 

The spokesperson added that the talks were marked by detailed and in-depth discussions of the various crises facing the Middle East. Minister Shoukry was keen to fully outline Egypt's vision on how to resolve the Libyan crisis, stressing the need to implement all elements of the Skhirat agreement and impede any effort to retract this agreement under any conditions. He also stressed the need for the international community to deal with the humanitarian crisis in Syria as a priority, with the continued need for differentiating between terrorist organizations and national opposition, as well as the need to resume the political process of Syrian/Syrian negotiations as the main path to achieving the desired transition in Syria. On the initiatives put forward in support of the Palestinian issue, the foreign minister stressed Egypt's support for the initiative proposed by France at the international peace conference, stressing the importance to intensify existing efforts to encourage the Palestinians and Israelis to resume negotiations in accordance with international references and the international legitimate decisions on Palestine. He stressed the need for the US to play the leading role in this field. 

The spokesperson concluded his remarks noting that the meeting between Shoukry and his US counterpart was characterized by a great deal of transparency and a comprehensive and profound approach to all subjects. He added that the meeting served as a review of the successes and failures on various bilateral issues between the two countries and issues of the region, particularly as the US transitions to a new administration. The discussions reflected the special and strategic nature of Egyptian-US relations that pertains regardless of the orientation or the priorities of the administration in charge in the White House.