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Shoukry heads to the United States


Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry heads to the United States Tuesday morning to hold talks with his US counterpart, as well as meet with high US officials and members of Congress in both houses, and with the new Administration’s transitional team. Minister Shoukry is also expected to have an extensive media appearance schedule during the visit.

In a statement, Counselor Ahmed Abu Zeid, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated that the visit will aim at strengthening the Egypt-US relations and stress on the importance of achieving the Egypt-US common interests, particularly during the coming period as the US transitions to the new Administration. He added that Shoukry will also share Egypt’s visions towards resolving the various regional issues. 

On Shoukry’s meetings in Washington, the spokesperson indicated that the Minister will hold bilateral talks with his US counterpart, John Kerry, at the State Department headquarter, where they are expected to discuss the various aspects of bilateral relations, including the US aid program to Egypt. He added that Shoukry will speak to the elements of the economic reform program and measures recently taken by the Egyptian government in this front, which display Egypt’s steady strides towards addressing the economic challenges and implementing a comprehensive vision for economic and social development. Shoukry will also discuss Egypt’s assessment of the events in Syria, Libya as well as the Palestinian issue and efforts to combat terrorism. 

Furthermore, Abu Zeid also indicated that the two ministers are expected to sign a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding concerning the imposition of import restrictions on archaeological material of Egypt, which will contribute to the reduction of illegal trafficking of Egyptian antiquities into the United States. Furthermore, Shoukry will also attend a reception organized and hosted by the Egyptian Embassy in Washington on the occasion of the repatriation of four ancient Egyptian artifacts smuggled into the United States. In the ceremony, Minister Shoukry will be joined by a number of members of Congress, State and Homeland security departments’ officials, and other concerned authorities. The Spokesperson further highlighted that the ceremony is the culmination of the efforts undertaken by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in collaboration with the Ministry of Antiquities, in tracking smuggled antiquities and taking the necessary measures to secure their repatriation. 

Similarly, the spokesperson pointed out that the Foreign Minister will meet, during his visit to the United States, with Congress Senators and Representatives, members of the Foreign Relations, Intelligence and Appropriations’ committees, during which discussions will focus on bilateral relations in the coming phase as well as exchange views on the developments in the Middle East. Shoukry is also expected to meet with the new Administration transitional team to share Egypt's vision of the future path of bilateral relations and discuss the crises facing the Arab nations and the Middle East. 

Abu Zeid further emphasized that the Foreign Minister will conclude his visit to the United States in New York City, where he will meet with "Antonio Gutierrez," the new Secretary General of the United Nations, to address a number of regional and international issues, and reflect on Egypt's vision for the role of the new Secretary-General, in view of Egypt's current seat in the Security Council and its comprehensive vision for the United Nations role in peace and security, development and peace-building and counter-terrorism issues. 

The spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs concluded his statement, indicating that Minister Shoukry will participate during his visit to Washington in the 13th Annual forum organized by the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings Institute, during which he will deliver a Keynote speech on “Egypt in the Middle East". Shoukry is the first Egyptian Minister to ever participate in this forum. The Forum will also be attended by US President Barack Obama who will be giving the Forum’s opening speech.