Shoukry in Washington to attend anti-IS meeting

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Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry headed to the US on Tuesday, in response to an official invitation by Rex Tillerson, to attend a coalition meeting against the so-called “Islamic State” (IS).

The coalition will discuss with the attending ministers updates on the ongoing military operations to clear the last strongholds of the IS in Iraq and Syria, and will also seek to listen to new ideas to counter the recruitment of fighters via the internet.

Kuwait’s and Turkey’s foreign ministers will also attend the meeting headed by Tillerson.

“Secretary Tillerson was very clear that defeating IS is the priority of his department regarding the Middle East,” spokesperson of the ministry Mark Toner told reporters.

He continued that “defeating IS is the beginning of a process leading to stability in the entire region,” adding that the meeting will be the largest of the international coalition since its formation.

This is the first meeting for the IS coalition to take place since the new US administration took over.

Shoukry’s visit came amid a US administration decision on Tuesday to ban devices for flights from certain countries in the Middle East that include Jordan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Saudi Arabia. Egypt was also on the list despite good relations with the US and the anticipated visit of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to Washington in April, as well as Shoukry’s recent visit to Washington.

There has been no information on whether Egypt would discuss this with the US administration. Daily News Egypt attempted to contact Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zaid to comment on this issue, but he was not available for comment.

Political science professor Hassan Nafaa told Daily News Egypt that “the US is an institutional country, so it is not necessary that the decision is being taken by the White House.”

However, Egypt should place this issue on the agenda to be discussed during Shoukry’s and Al-Sisi’s meetings there, especially to save its tourism sector.

Tillerson invited Shoukry during a phone call on Saturday. The meeting took place in Washington on 22 March.

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