Strategic talks signal improving US-Egypt ties

Cairo, Aug 4 (IANS) The United States and Egypt have reopened their strategic dialogue in Cairo, which may improve their estranged ties since the downfall of Egypt’s former Islamic president Mohammad Morsi.

Both Cairo and Washington consider the resumption of the dialogue, which was last held six years ago, a move to prove that political differences would not negatively affect bilateral relations, Xinhua news agency quoted Mohamed Al-Oraby, Egypt’s former foreign minister as saying.

The restart of the talks came two days after the US delivered eight F-16 warplanes to Egypt as part of a military support package.

Earlier this year, Washington agreed to lift its hold on the supply of military hardware to Egypt.

Oraby said Washington saw Egypt as a partner in the fight against terrorism in the middle east.

Sayed Al-Gabry, a strategic expert, said Washington realised that “cold ties” and its selective counter-terrorism policies would not serve US interests in the region.

Egypt has been trying to crack down on the escalating militant insurgency by Islamic State (IS) affiliate in the Sinai peninsula.

Apart from the campaign against terrorism in the region, Iran’s recent nuclear deal with the world powers was also a key topic at the dialogue.

The top US diplomat on Sunday expressed gratefulness for Egypt’s support of the deal, while Washington is exerting effort to assure the Sunni Gulf countries over what they anticipated Iran’s possible expansion of influence in the middle east once the sanctions are removed.

Noha Bakir, professor of international relation with American University in Cairo, said the US is trying to use the dialogue to allay fears and concerns of the Arab countries on Iran deal through Egypt.

The bilateral strategic dialogue, aiming to boost the two sides’ political, security and economic cooperation, was first launched in 1998 to consolidate pillars of the Egypt-Israel peace agreement.

 

 

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