Remarks With Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
February 19, 2015

SECRETARY KERRY: Good evening, everybody. I know it’s been a long day for everybody, but I am very pleased to welcome Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry of Egypt here to the State Department. He’s been very engaged in today’s discussions, and we’ve already actually had a meeting with EU High Representative Mogherini and with the Secretary-General of the United Nations. And we met together with Minister Shoukry to talk about the subject of Libya, which is one of the concerns that we are working on together.

But I want to say that Egypt, even at a moment where it is transitioning with elections in the future – in the near future – is facing challenges. And our hearts go out to the Egyptian people for the horrendous, grotesque killing of 21 Coptic Christians, Egyptians, that took place in Libya. This is yet another example of the evil of ISIS, Daesh, and it is galvanizing people even more, as we saw in today’s conference, to take action to stamp out this kind of terrorist activity and this terrorist group.

Egypt is a increasingly critical partner in these efforts. They are working with us in the Sinai against terrorism; they are working with respect to Gaza and helped enormously in the effort to try to bring the war of last summer to a ceasefire. They’re working with us on the issue of the Palestinian-Israel peace process, as well as on Libya, Syria, and Iran.

So Egypt has always been a critical partner in the region and a leader in the region, and Minister Shoukry and I will talk now about some of the challenges that we face as we work together to try to shape the path ahead as Egypt continues to move to the elections and the fulfillment of its promises about democracy, and as we work together to deal with the very real violent extremist challenges of the region.

So again, Sameh, thank you for the multiple partnerships, and I appreciate the work we’re doing together.

FOREIGN MINISTER SHOUKRY: Well, thank you very much, Secretary Kerry. Let me at the outset thank you and convey the appreciation of the government and people of Egypt for the messages of condolences that we have received at various levels of the Administration, the White House, the State Department, and also on the personal level. I think it was a appreciation of the strong ties that bind our two countries and our resoluteness in addressing the risks and threats of terrorism.

Egypt has been consistent in its fight against terrorism, whether at home or in the region, and has been consistent and determined that we provide every assistance to the coalition against ISIL and other terrorist organizations. And we will continue to cooperate effectively with the United States and other partners because we know the dangers that such organizations pose to the stability of the region.

We are thankful as well for the support that we have been receiving from the United States and look forward to continuing to enhance our bilateral relations in the various important fields, whether political or the military and security cooperation, and also the economic support that we have been receiving from the United States and the U.S. companies.

It is important for Egypt in its transition and its road map to have successfully completed the two first stages and now is about to complete the third stage, and thereby completing the institutions of government. Egypt is on a course of democracy, of protection and promotion of human rights, and a secure environment for its people to prosper and to develop. We believe that the relationship between the United States and Egypt is a resource of importance. We hope that the United States will continue to cooperate effectively and to support Egypt during this time.

And we certainly have many issues to discuss, both bilaterally and related to the regional challenges that we mutually face. And we believe we will both be in a better position to address them in cooperation and solidarity between us. So I thank you once again.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you. Thank you, Sameh.


SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much, everybody.