Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi discussed bilateral relations between Egypt and the US, as well as regional issues, with US Vice President Mike Pence during his visit to the Middle East on behalf of US President Donald Trump on Saturday.
During his short visit to Cairo, Pence addressed the “shared need to combat terrorism and assist persecuted religious minorities,” according to a statement from the US Embassy in Egypt.
The vice president’s visit to the Middle East was originally scheduled for 20 December. However, it was delayed in the aftermath of controversy surrounding US President Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Pence’s visit to the region includes stops in Egypt, Jordan, and Israel. He will spend the last two days of his trip in Israel, where he will participate in “bilateral discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin. He will also give remarks at the Knesset, and visit Yad Vashem and the Western Wall,” read the statement.
“The vice president is travelling to the Middle East to reaffirm our commitment to work with the United States’ allies in the region to defeat radicalism that threatens future generations,” said Alyssa Farah, Pence’s press secretary.
Early in December, Trump declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel, giving orders to his secretary of state to take all necessary preparations for transferring the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city.
The move resulted in controversy and rejection over the world, especially in Muslim countries, where several demonstrations were held against the US move.
Noha Bakr, an expert in US affairs and professor of political science at the American University in Cairo, said that the visit comes in line with the current consultations on the Jerusalem issue, combating terrorism, and the regional issues in Syria and Yemen.
Bakr added that Pence’s visit includes customary stops for top US officials visiting the Middle East, noting that Egypt, Israel, and Jordan are closely tied to US foreign policy.