Tue | Aug 21, 2018

US and Egypt pledge allegiance in IS fight raging in Sinai

Published:Tuesday | February 13, 2018 | 12:00 AM
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, meets Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, in Cairo, Egypt, yesterday.

CAIRO (AP):

The United States and Egypt yesterday reaffirmed their commitment to battle Islamic militants in the Middle East as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held talks with Egyptian officials in Cairo at the start of his week-long trip to the region.

Tillerson and his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, cited productive discussions on regional security and the struggle against the Islamic State group, whose Egyptian affiliate, based in the Sinai Peninsula, has struck military and civilian targets across the Arab world's most populous country.

At a joint news conference with Shoukry, Tillerson said Egypt was an important part of the anti-IS coalition and that Washington was "committed to strengthening this partnership in the years to come".

"We agreed that we would continue our close cooperation on counterterrorism measures, including our joint commitment to the defeat of IS," Tillerson said.

"We highly value this relationship, and we thank the United States for what it presents to Egypt in terms of support, which benefits both countries," Shoukry said, adding that Cairo hoped to further boost cooperation.

The visit comes as Egypt is undertaking a major military operation in volatile Sinai, where Islamic extremists have been leading an insurgency for years, and in remote areas of the mainland where militants have attacked security forces and civilians.