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 U.S. ally in nearly a decade، began a trip through the region after leaving behind a government shutdown in Washington.
Pence and el-Sissi held 2½ 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.”
Pence said “we stand shoulder to shoulder with you and Egypt in fighting against terrorism،” 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 militant opened fire outside a suburban Cairo church، killing at least nine people. He also pointed to the killing of 311 worshippers inside a mosque in northern Sinai last November.
“We resolve to continue to stand with Egypt in the battle against terrorism،” Pence said.
Pence arrived in Cairo hours after the U.S. 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.