Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and US President Barack Obama discussed on Thursday evening both sides’ views on the “overall situation” in the Middle East, according to a Friday statement by the foreign ministry.
The meeting dealt with bilateral relations and ways of developing them in various fields in order to “achieve the common interests of the two countries and underline their strategic nature.”
At the beginning of the meeting, Obama said that he was looking forward to this opportunity to share ideas. “The US-Egyptian relationship has been an important cornerstone of our security policy and our policy in the Middle East for a very long time,” Obama said.
Al-Sisi emphasised that the Egyptian government shapes its policies in response to the popular will and national priorities, as a result of two revolutions that placed Egypt on the road to building a democratic state which upholds the values of freedom and respect for human rights, and which meets the aspirations of the Egyptian people in achieving development and progress.
The two presidents agreed on the importance of the Egyptian-US relations, expressed appreciation for Egypt’s regional position, and the importance of pushing it towards development and new horizons in a matter that fulfills the interests of both countries and peoples.
Al-Sisi and Obama also agreed on starting a dialogue at the level of foreign ministers.
They also consulted each other on the situation in Libya, the issue of terrorism as a global phenomenon and ways to support the US lead international coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS), and means of coordination on these issues.
Al-Sisi presented his vision on terrorism, ensuring its eradication from its roots.
Concerning Libya, the Egyptian president stressed on the risks posed by the unstable situation and the importance of confronting terrorist organisations there, as well as supporting the legitimate institutions of the elected government approved by the Libyan parliament.
He also stressed his rejection of foreign intervention in Libya and financing “terrorist elements”, and urged for dialogue between all factions in Libya that renounce violence, within the framework of the initiative agreed on by Libya’s neighbouring countries.
Both the American and the Egyptian sides agreed on the need to prevent the arrival of funding and weapons to the militias in Libya.
“The talks were constructive and positive in terms of providing the first opportunity for the two presidents to interact on a personal level,” said the statement, adding that the two presidents stressed their keenness for further communication.
The meeting came as part of Al-Sisi’s visit to the US for the UN General Assembly’s 69th session.