By Arab News
By Gobran Mohamed
Egypt President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has won a US commitment to ensuring Cairo has the capability to defend its people and territory.
El-Sisi met top US officials in Washington on the sidelines of the US-Africa summit.
During his meeting with the president at the Pentagon, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that Egypt “is a leader on the world stage in addition to the Middle East and Africa.”
Austin added: “We will continue to work with Egypt and your neighbors to strengthen interoperability, integrated air and missile defense and maritime security,” a US Department of Defense statement said.
El-Sisi affirmed Egypt’s keenness to support its strategic partnership with the US, especially in the military and security fields in light of the exceptional circumstances that the region and world are witnessing.
An official statement described the bilateral ties as “the core of the strategic partnership between the two countries. These relations support their joint responsibility and efforts toward restoring security and stability in the Middle East.”
Austin thanked the El-Sisi for Egypt assuming command of Combined Task Force 153, which assures the security of sea lines of communication in the Red Sea.
The Egyptian Navy on Dec. 12 took command of CTF 153 from the US Navy during a ceremony in Bahrain, where multinational staff is headquartered.
Austin said that the US remained committed to ensuring Egypt has the capability to defend its people and territory.
In another meeting, El-Sisi discussed issues of common interest, including the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
They exchanged views on key African issues in light of the US-Africa summit. El-Sisi said that the African continent needed a full-fledged continental infrastructure that supports the implementation of efforts and initiatives covering African countries.
This would be accomplished through a large-scale international project that mobilizes the resources and support of major countries, he added, noting that global development expertise could create a comprehensive vision for the infrastructure, “which is critical to the success of the continent’s development efforts.”
Egypt presidential spokesman Bassam Rady said that Blinken welcomed El-Sisi’s visit to Washington, which came within the framework of supporting the course of relations between the two friendly countries.
Blinken stressed the US administration’s commitment to strengthening the frameworks of joint cooperation with Egypt in various fields and supporting Cairo’s “tireless efforts in striving toward achieving security, stability and development in the region.”
Regarding GERD, El-Sisi affirmed Egypt’s adherence to applying the relevant principles of international law and the need to conclude a binding legal agreement regarding the rules for filling and operating the dam.
He added that this would preserve Egypt’s water security without prejudice to the flow of water in the Nile.
The issue has caused tensions between Ethiopia on one side and Egypt and Sudan on the other. Egypt and Sudan are demanding a legally binding agreement on the filling and operating of the dam, which they fear will reduce their share of Nile waters.
Blinken emphasized his country’s support for efforts to resolve the issue in a manner that achieves the interests of all parties and takes into account the importance of the Nile waters to Egypt.
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said: “Blinken underscored our commitment to the US-Egypt strategic partnership, commended Egypt’s successful hosting of COP27, and discussed a wide range of issues, including Egypt’s important role in promoting stability in the region and our decades-long bilateral defense ties.”