U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Cairo, Egypt February 12, 2018. REUTERS/Khaled Elfiqi/Pool
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Cairo. Khaled Elfiqi / Reuters

US reiterates support for Egypt during Tillerson visit to Cairo



US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Monday that the United States supports Egypt's fight against ISIL but reiterated that it also advocates free and fair elections in the Arab country.

Speaking at a joint news conference with his Egyptian counterpart, Mr Tillerson also said that Washington remained committed to achieving lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, despite President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Mr Tillerson arrived in Egypt at the start of a regional tour amid heightened tensions between Israel and Syria after an Israeli F-16 aircraft was shot down. It also follows a major security operation by the Egyptian military to crush Islamist militants who have killed hundreds of people since 2013.

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He held talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.

The two foreign ministers met behind closed doors and then addressed reporters before meeting with Mr Al Sisi and finally heading to the airport to fly to Kuwait.

"We agreed we would continue our close cooperation on counterterrorism measures," Mr Tillerson said.

"The Egyptian people should be confident that the US commitment to continue to support Egypt in fight against terrorism and bringing security to Egyptian people is steadfast."

The Egyptian military campaign comes ahead of presidential elections in March, in which President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi is seeking a second term in office.

Mr Tillerson said the United States supports a credible, transparent election in Egypt and Libya.

"We have always advocated for free and fair elections, transparent elections not just in Egypt but in any country," he said.

"The US is always going to advocate for electoral process that respects rights of citizens," Mr Tillerson told journalists, adding that the United States was also keen to continue supporting Egypt in its economic recovery.

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