FILE - Foreign ministry spokesman, Ahmed Abu Zeid
CAIRO – 13 February 2018: Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said that the U.S. Administration called on the Congress to allocate the full $1.3 billion annual military aid to Egypt.
In an interview with Lamis al-Hadidi on CBC, Abu Zeid said that United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s remarks about a $1 billion U.S. aid to Egypt did not mean aid deduction, but perhaps he wanted to say it is approximately $1 billion.
In August 2017, Tillerson announced a decision to slash $95.7 million in grants and aid to Egypt, and to delay the disbursement of $195 million in military aid because of alleged human rights violations.
Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi met with Tillerson in Cairo on Monday to discuss ways of enhancing the U.S.-Egyptian relations, the recent efforts to counter terrorism, as well as the regional and international issues of mutual concern.
Heather Nauert, spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, described the meeting as “productive” and said that the two parties agreed to resume a new joint strategic dialogue, and enhance strong ties between the two countries, the U.S. Department of State reported.
In a press conference with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, Tillerson said the U.S. stands with Egypt in its operations against terrorism in Sinai. “The U.S. commitment in continuing to support Egypt in its fight against terrorism and bringing security for the Egyptian people is steadfast and will continue,” Tillerson stated.
Closed bilateral meeting between Minister Shoukry and Secretary Tillerson commence at the Egyptian Foreign Ministry headquarters in Tahrir, Cairo – Egypt MFA Spokesman Twitter account
Tillerson added that Egypt has suffered from terror attacks by the Islamic State (IS) group and other terrorist organizations for several years. Tillerson also praised the economic development Egypt has achieved and stressed on the important role Egypt plays in the region, Abu Zeid said.
Tillerson started his Middle East tour on Monday; the tour includes Amman, Ankara, Beirut, Cairo, and Kuwait, and takes place from February 11–16.
On Friday, the army and naval forces began a military operation named “Full-Scale Operation in Sinai 2018” against terrorists affiliated to the Islamic State (IS) in Sinai (previously known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis), Military Spokesman Tamer al-Rifai announced.
The Egyptian Armed Forces killed 16 militants and arrested four others in the full-scale military – "Sinai 2018” – launched on Friday, said Armed Forces Spokesperson Refai in a statement on Sunday.
According to the fifth statement released by the Armed Forces on Monday, Egypt’s security forces destroyed 60 targets, killed 12 terrorists following exchange of fire, arrested 92 criminals and seized 20 vehicles that terrorists used in carrying out terror acts.