Foreign Minister holds talks with the leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Counselor Ahmed Abu Zeid, Spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, stated that Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry held talks on Monday December 5 with Senator "Bob Corker," Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senator "Ben Cardin" the Ranking Member of the Committee. Abu Zeid indicated that the meetings addressed the various aspects of the bilateral relations, as well as various regional issues of common interest, highlighting that Shoukry responded to the Senators’ inquiries about the developments of the many regional conflicts and Egypt's stance towards them. Both Senator Corker and Cardin clarified that progress in Egypt is being closely monitored by the members of the Foreign Relations committee, expressing their understanding to the challenges associated with the current economic, political and social transition in Egypt. The Senators also referred to the recently adopted law by the Egyptian parliament, regulating the work of non-governmental organizations in Egypt, emphasizing that in order for Congress to continue to endorse a supportive attitude towards Egypt, the government needs to exert more efforts to facilitate the work of NGOs, in view of the impact it has on Egypt’s image among the different circles in the US.
The Foreign Ministry spokesperson added that the leaders of the Committee inquired about the government’s vision towards balancing between the protection of citizens in the face of terrorism and the protection of freedoms and rights, taking into consideration that the US recognizes that Egypt's stability is an essential element for the stability of the entire Middle East and the protection of US interests in the region. The Senators also noted that they always welcome the assessment and vision put forward by Egypt about the situation in the Middle East. In this regard, the talks also tackled the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and the chances of resuming the talks, as Shoukry explained the Egyptian vision as well as the peace initiative put forward by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, to which the Chairman of the Committee on Relations Foreign expressed his appreciation for and commended the role played by Egypt in support of the peace process between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.
Shoukry also shared Egypt's policy towards the Libyan crisis, stressing the centrality of Sukhairat agreement, as the optimal solution, and to garner the international community’s support around, for the settlement of the Libyan crisis and the restoration of political and security stability to Libya. On the Syrian crisis, the Foreign Minister briefed the Senators about the efforts exerted by Egypt in the UN Security Council regarding a draft resolution addressing the humanitarian situation in Aleppo, highlighting that Egypt views the humanitarian issue as a priority, and that Egypt led the deliberations regarding the draft resolution, in an attempt to put an end to the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo and the criticality of reaching a cease fire that allows the safe passage of the humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people. Nevertheless, the Security Council failed to adopt the Egypt, Spain and New Zealand resolution as a result of the continuing conflict around the parameters for the cease fire.
On the domestic front, Minister Shoukry briefed the members about the economic and social reform program and the recent agreement with the international Monetary Fund, emphasizing that the IMF agreement affirms the international community's confidence in the Egyptian government's performance and its thriving strides in addressing the various economic challenges. The Minister also noted that the decisions recently taken by the Egyptian government in this context confirm once again the determination of the Egyptian government to take all necessary measures to address the economic structural inequalities that characterized the Egyptian economy for decades, and that the response of the Egyptian people to these procedures reflect their support for the government policy and vision for reform.
The spokesperson concluded his comments, pointing out that all the meetings held by the Foreign Minister with members on the hill reaffirm the United States’ support to Egypt, in its efforts facing economic, political and security challenges, as a true partner in the Middle East. The members of Congress also stressed that the United States recognizes the sacrifices made by Egypt in the field of counter-terrorism, and is determined to provide more support toEgypt in combating terrorism and in addressing all economic challenges.