General Jim Mattis - photo courtsey of U.S Department of Defense General Jim Mattis - photo courtsey of U.S Department of Defense

US Defense Secretary leaves Cairo, heads to Tel Aviv

Fri, Apr. 21, 2017
CAIRO – 20 April 2017: After his two-day visit to Egypt, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis left Cairo and headed to Israel where he would discuss regional issues.

Mattis will meet President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman; the meetings will tackle the Syrian crisis, the international counter-terrorism efforts against the Islamic State (IS) group, and the threat of Iran to the region.

During his visit to Cairo, Mattis and Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Defense Minister Sedki Sobhi discussed regional security issues on Thursday.

Security and army cooperation between the two countries and way to boost it in light of the region’s critical situation was discussed during the meeting, according to a statement by the Egyptian Presidential Spokesperson Alaa Youssef on Thursday.

“President Sisi underscored the need to step up international efforts to dry up sources of terrorism and to send a firm message to state sponsors of terrorism to stop funding terrorist organizations and providing them with arms and fighters,” Youssef said.

A number of regional challenges, with fighting terrorism as a top topic, were discussed as well.

“"We agreed on the need for a renewed and strong security partnership," Mattis said in

media remarks

after arriving in Tel Aviv on Thursday.

Mattis’ visit to Egypt comes as part of his tour to the Middle East, which includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Djibouti and Israel.

The US department of defense described the visit to Egypt as “an attempt to discuss the cooperative effort to counter destabilizing activities and defeat extremist terrorist organizations”.

Mattis started his tour of the region in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday where he met King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
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