Kerry meets Egyptian counterpart, Erdogan ahead of nuclear summit

WASHINGTON, March 31 (KUNA) — US Secretary of State John Kerry has met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as foreign delegations began to arrive in Washington for the Nuclear Security Summit.
In remarks to the press, Kerry said Egypt “is a critical voice in helping us to deal with the enormous challenges” in the Middle East and North Africa region, particularly in Libya.
“Even today, a major step was taken which we hope, all of us, will bear fruit to put a government in place,” he said, referring to the arrival in Tripoli of Libya’s new prime minister, who is heading a fragile unity government. “Egypt is working with us against counterterrorism. We’re working on the Sinai. We’re working to contain Gaza, to deal with Hamas and other entities. We are engaged in a coalition struggle, all of us, against Daesh, against extremism,” Kerry added, referring to the so-called Islamic State group by it’s Arabic acronym.
“Egypt is engaged with all of us in helping to encourage a peaceful resolution to the problem of not only Yemen but also Syria itself, where they have contributed significantly,” he noted. For his part, Shoukry said the US-Egypt relationship is “a pillar of [Cairo’s] foreign policy.” He added: “In working together, we are more confident in our ability to meet the challenges of the region and to proceed on Egypt’s road to the future in terms of its development and fulfilling the aspirations of its people.” Later in the day, Kerry met “briefly” with Erdogan to discuss the conflict in Syria, according to State Department Spokesperson John Kirby. The two men “discussed ongoing efforts to secure a political transition in Syria,” and “also assessed coalition efforts to degrade and defeat Daesh… reviewing the progress that has been made on the ground and discussing ways to strengthen our cooperation against this shared threat.” The Nuclear Security Summit, which has drawn more than 50 delegations from around the world, runs from March 31 to April 1. (end) ys.rk