“We stand shoulder to shoulder with you and Egypt in fighting against terrorism,” Pence told el-Sissi in Cairo, where both leaders vowed to unite against “this disease and cancer.”
Vice President Mike Pence and Egyptian leader Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi pledged a united front against terrorism in the Mideast as Pence, the highest-level American official to visit the US ally in nearly a decade, began a trip through the region.
Pence and el-Sissi held two and a half hours of talks at the presidential palace in Cairo, with acknowledgements of friendship and partnership between the two countries. Through a translator, Pence listened intently as el-Sissi cited the need to address “urgent issues,” including “ways to eliminate this disease and cancer that has terrified the whole world.”
Pence pointed to President Donald Trump’s efforts to forge stronger ties with el-Sissi in his first year in office, “after a time when our countries seemed to be drifting apart.””we stand shoulder to shoulder with you and Egypt in fighting against terrorism,”
Pence said and that “our hearts grieve” for the loss of life in recent terrorist attacks against Egyptians.
The vice president noted the deadly attack against Christians in late December, when a terrorist opened fire outside a suburban Cairo church, killing at least nine people. He also pointed to the killing of 311 worshipers inside a mosque in northern Sinai last November.
“We resolve to continue to stand with Egypt in the battle against terrorism,” Pence stated.
Pence arrived in Cairo hours after the US Congress and Trump failed to reach agreement on a plan to avert a partial federal closure. Pence went ahead with his four-day trip to the Middle East, citing national security and diplomatic reasons.
Pence’s meetings with el-Sissi delved into security cooperation, economic ties and efforts to fight the Islamic State group.
His visit to the region came more than a month after Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a step that has enraged Palestinians. El-Sissi identified “the peace issue” as one of the most important issues in their discussions, but the two leaders did not elaborate.