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February 12, 2018 11:37 am

US Secretary of State Says Washington Backs Egypt in Fight Against Terrorism

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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Photo: Wikicommons.

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

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

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 in a retaliatory mission after an Iranian drone infiltrated Israeli airspace. It also follows a major security operation by the Egyptian military to crush Islamist militants who have killed hundreds of people since 2013.

“We agreed we would continue our close cooperation on counterterrorism measures,” Tillerson said.

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

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

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,” Tillerson said.

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

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