President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi discussed on Saturday bilateral relations, confronting terrorism, and the situation in the Middle East with US Defence Secretary James Mattis in Cairo. During the meeting, Mattis delivered his condolences to Al-Sisi for the attack which targeted worshippers at a mosque in the North Sinai last week.
At least 305 were killed and128 were injured in the Rawda mosque attack in Al-Arish on Friday 24 November, making the attack the deadliest in Egypt’s history, according to a statement issued by the General Prosecution. No groups have claimed responsibility for the attack.
Mattis arrived in Cairo on Saturday morning on the first stop of a five-day trip. He also met Defence Minister Sedki Sobhi. “We are working closely with Egypt on how they can best defeat this common threat,” Mattis said.
According to a statement by the Department of Defence, Mattis’ trip comes to “reaffirm the enduring US commitment to partnerships in the Middle East, West Africa, and South Asia.”
Mattis asserted that the US remains committed to strong ties with Cairo, despite freezing some military aid to Egypt over human rights issues. He also praised the growth of counterterrorism cooperation with Egypt, according to Voice Of America.
Following his meetings with Al-Sisi and Sobhi, Mattis left to Jordan to participate in the Aqaba Process, a meeting on countering violent extremism in West Africa, hosted by Jordan’s King Abdullah II, according to the statement.