The Five Points of Discussion for the US-Egypt Strategic Dialogue

The US-Egypt Strategic Dialogue saw a meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (along with a large number of other officials on both sides) on August 2 in an attempt to rekindle a bilateral relationship that saw its share of turbulence over the past few years. Despite the distrust that had developed due to US suspension of military aid and a divergent Egyptian policy on how to deal with political dissent, both sides reaffirmed the importance of bilateral ties, particualy in the current regional context.

Kerry and Shoukry addressed five main points during the strategic dialogue:

  1. Egypt’s economic situation
  2. Security concerns (including counterterrorism and violent extremism)
  3. Human Rights
  4. Parliamentary Elections
  5. The Nuclear Deal with Iran

In “A Breakdown of US-Egypt Strategic Dialogue Discussions” on EgyptSource, Program Assistant for the Rafik Hariri Center Elissa Miller examines each of these points and the takeaways from the discussion. With reagard to security, Kerry emphasized the need to redefine the relationship between the public and the Egyptian governent:

Notably, during the joint press conference, Kerry emphasized that the “fight against terrorism depends on building trust between the authorities and the public.” He said, “If that possibility does not exist, then, regrettably, more misguided people will be driven to violence and there will be more attacks.” He added that while “terrorists who kill civilians and attack Egyptian security forces have to be brought to justice,” it is just as important to “distinguish between those who use violence to achieve their ends and others who seek peacefully to participate in a political dialogue, even if what they say sometimes may make people uncomfortable.” 

Foreign Minister Shoukry pushed back, however, when it came to free press and assembly issues. His remarks conveyed a disconnect between the US and Egyptian understanding of the threats facing the country:

Shoukry pushed back against criticism of Egypt’s human rights record. In response to a question referencing a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists, which states that eighteen journalists are facing charges–two of whom were released on bail–Shoukry said that none of the journalists are in prison “or facing a judicial process related to their professional journalism.” He said they are accused of “implication with terrorist activity” and that they are “all in the state of due process by a judicial competent authority and are afforded all forms of defense.” Discussing Egypt’s controversial demonstration law, he reiterated the right of any country “ to regulate the issue of the demonstrations as it deems appropriate to preserving the stability and security of its people.” 

Read the full article, “A Breakdown of US-Egypt Strategic Dialogue Discussions” on EgyptSource.

Image: Photo: US Secretary of State John Kerry addresses reporters during a news conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry following a series of security and economic meetings during a Strategic Dialogue between the United States and Egypt in Cairo, Egypt, on August 2, 2015. (State Department photo/ Public Domain)