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MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) - 23/06/2014
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(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) US Secretary of State John Kerry affirmed Sunday that Washington will strengthen the strategic relationship with Cairo amid the turmoil in the Middle East.

In a joint press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri, Kerry said: "Well, it's a great pleasure for me to be back in Cairo and have a chance to meet with the new foreign minister - and I very much look forward to working with him on critical issues facing our countries.

"Obviously, this is a critical moment of transition in Egypt, with enormous challenges. The United States is very interested in working closely with President (Abdelfatah) Al-Sisi and his cabinet and Egypt in order to help make this transition as rapidly and smoothly as possible," Kerry stated.

"There are issues of concern, as the minister mentions, but we know how to work at these - With the regional issues, as critical as they are - Syria, Iraq and other issues regarding instability through terrorism in the Sinai, elsewhere - we have a lot to talk about and a lot to work on," he went on.

Kerry noted that he plans to hold talks with leaders of the Middle East countries, during his current trip, on the risks posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) not only to Iraq but to the entire region and beyond.

The State Secretary noted that his country is not responsible for what is going on in Iraq but will help the Iraqi government in combating the ISIL terrorism, adding that the US will not send troops back to Iraq.

He urged the governments and individuals in the region not to donate funds to charity organizations that could channel these funds to insurgents in Iraq and elsewhere.

Asked on the US assistance to Egypt, he said President Barack Obama's administration suggested offering Egypt a total of USD 650 million but the Senate decided to reduce the funds.

The delivery of the US Apaches to Egypt will take place soon, Kerry added.

On his part, Shukri said that Kerry discussed with Al-Sisi a range of regional and international issues of mutual concern and both sides agreed to double efforts in the face of mounting challenges.

"This is a very important visit for us and for our bilateral relations, and also for - given the current regional situation," he said, noting that Kerry meeting with Al-Sisi materialized the keenness of both sides to push forward their strategic dialogue.

The minister affirmed that Cairo shares Washington the concern about the situations in Iraq, and is keen on the unity and stability of Iraq and "all Arab brothers." Following his talks with Al-Sisi, Shukri and the Arab League Secretary General Nabil Al-Araby, Kerry has concluded his brief visit this evening; he has left for Amman, capital of Jordan, for consultations with Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.


Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)

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