Remarks With Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
March 30, 2016

SECRETARY KERRY: Good evening, folks. The Foreign Minister of Egypt Sameh Shoukry has been one of my closest interlocutors over the last few years. We have worked extremely closely together on many issues. Let me first say in welcoming him here to Washington how relieved we all were that the Egyptian Air hijacking turned out to have all of the crew and all of the passengers unharmed, and we’re grateful for that, obviously. Egypt has been working through some very difficult challenges. It’s not an easy time. The region is presenting challenges to all of us, plus there are major economic challenges that Egypt is engaged in trying to deal with.

So we have worked as partners for a long period of time on many, many issues, and Egypt right now is playing a critical role in helping us to deal with Libya in a responsible way. Even today, a major step was taken which we hope, all of us, will bear fruit to put a government in place. Egypt is working with us against counterterrorism. We’re working on the Sinai. We’re working to contain Gaza, to deal with Hamas and other entities. We are engaged in a coalition struggle, all of us, against Daesh, against extremism. Egypt has been very helpful in the course of that, and Egypt is engaged with all of us in helping to encourage a peaceful resolution to the problem of not only Yemen but also Syria itself, where they have contributed significantly.

We’re working together to try to deal with part of the economic challenge that Egypt faces. I have often said to people that Egypt, representing a quarter of the Arab world in and of itself and historically a hub of the Arab world, is a critical voice in helping us to deal with the enormous challenges that we have right now. So we have a lot to talk about, and I’m very happy to welcome Sameh Shoukry, who has been a solid colleague in all of these endeavors. Welcome to Washington.

FOREIGN MINISTER SHOUKRY: Thank you, Secretary Kerry. I’m delighted to be here to participate in the Nuclear Security Summit that I have participated in all three previous summits. It’s an important issue, and Egypt has been engaged and a productive partner in this endeavor. And I’m glad also to take this opportunity to continue our dialogue on the bilateral and on the regional issues that we have discussed and on the cooperation that exists between the United States and Egypt. Egypt considers this a pillar of its foreign policy, its relationship with the United States – the strategic nature and the commonality of our interests – and that in working together, we are more confident in our ability to meet the challenges of the region and to proceed on Egypt’s road to the future in terms of its development and fulfilling the aspirations of its people. After the revolution of the 25th and the 30th of June, we are on the path towards democratization, towards establishing rule of law. And of course, with the final stage of parliamentary elections and the seating of parliament, we are well underway in achieving all of our aspirations.

We believe that we can only succeed with the continued support of the United States, and we value what has been provided in the past and we are reassured of the commitment of the United States towards Egypt’s prosperity and its role in the region, and are committed to continue to work with the United States to achieve our common goals in Libya, in Syria, in the fight against extremism. And we are hopeful that as we embark on the future achievements and challenges, we will do so more effectively, with greater understanding and coordination among our two nations. Thank you so much. Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you. Thank you, Sameh. I really appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you all very much.