CAIRO: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has voiced his concerns over human rights situation in Egypt amid the country’s counter-terrorism efforts.
“There should be a difference between those who use violence and those who want to participate in the political dialogue, said Kerry in a Sunday press conference held in Cairo in the sideline of the U.S.-Egypt “strategic dialogue” talks.
He noted that the crackdown on civilians and depriving them from human rights “enhances terrorism.”
“Obviously, there has been a little bit of tension over certain issues,” Kerry said, adding that both sides discussed the best ways of combating terrorism and protecting the human rights at the same time.
Speaking at the conference, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that there are no major differences between the two countries, only different point of views.
“No country has reached the idealism in the human rights record,” Shoukry said, noting that all journalists, currently standing behind bars, have been detained for terrorisms-related crimes.
Concerning the Protest law, Shoukry said that any country has the right to issue a protest law if protests would threaten its national security and safety.
The relations between both sides have soared due to human rights conditions in August 2013, when U.S. suspended part of the $1.3 billion aid to Egypt after the dispersal of the pro-Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins in Rabaa and Nahdah squares.
However, In April 2014, relations improved when the Pentagon announced that the suspended aid would be released. In November 2014, Egypt received the suspended 10 Apache fighter jets.
The first session of the bilateral strategic dialogue was held in 2009, but it was suspended following the 2011 uprising. Kerry stated that both sides agreed to hold the meetings every two years.
During the opening session of the dialogue, Kerry affirmed his country aims to support Egypt to “double its economic growth.”
“We welcome President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s steps taken to improve economic conditions,” Kerry said in the session co-chaired with Shoukry.
Iran nuclear deal ‘safe’
U.S. Secretary said that Iran’s deal with the U.N member states will be “Safer” to Egypt and the whole region; On July 14, Iran and the U.S., China, Russia, U.K., France and Germany reached a deal on the Iranian nuclear program that guarantees Tehran’s peaceful use of nuclear power in return for lifting western sanctions.
“The United States and Egypt recognize that Iran is engaged in destabilizing activities in the region,” Kerry said.
Libya unity government
Kerry said that his country seeks to support UN plant to form Libyan unity government, highlighted Cairo and Washington agreement on reaching a peaceful solution for Libyan security and political turmoil. Both sides also discussed the Syrian crisis.