CAIRO: Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy contacted his U.S. counterpart John Kerry to discuss bilateral relations between Egypt and the United States.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Badr Abdel-Atty said in a press statement released Tuesday that the two officials discussed recent developments regarding the Palestinian-Israel conflict. He said Fahmy stressed the need for drafting a time table to achieve peace as an outcome from negotiations.
The statements came hours before Fahmy’s scheduled to the United States on Tuesday, where he is expected to meet with Kerry and a number of U.S. officials to discuss bilateral relations and regional and local developments.
The U.S. Department of State announced that Kerry is also scheduled to meet with Egypt’s Head of Intelligence Authority Mohamed Al-Tohami on Thursday.
In a Tuesday statement, the U.S. Department of State said “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will conduct a closed meeting with Tohami in Washington at 2:00 p.m. Journalists and media channels will not be allowed to cover this meeting.”
Kerry stressed the need for maintaining strategic relations between the two countries during the coming period. He added during a phone call with Egypt’s top diplomat that the U.S. should increase its cooperation with Egypt to combat international threats, including terrorism and weapons proliferation.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy said in a press conference on April 6 that relations between Egypt and the U.S. are currently strained despite their importance for both parties. He said, “There is no strategic dialogue between the two countries. The return of this dialogue depends on the return of relations to their normal track.”
According to the statement issued by the U.S Department of State, Kerry said, “Relations with Egypt still keep their importance. Egypt is a major strategic partner to the U.S.” Kerry also urged Egypt to take serious steps towards respecting human rights and the basic freedoms of all Egyptians and to conduct free and fair elections to pave the way for achieving democracy.