US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III welcomed Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to the Pentagon on 14 December, saying Egypt is not only a leader in the Middle East and Africa, but on the world stage.
The Secretary also noted the United States and Egypt are marking 100 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. El-Sisi and Austin discussed a number of issues during their meeting, the US Department of Defense (DoD) reported.
“The administration greatly appreciates Egypt’s leadership and cooperation and achieving our shared security objectives,” Austin said at the top of the meeting.
“We’ve seen that leadership and Egypt’s courage in becoming the first Arab state to establish diplomatic relations with Israel, for your [responsibility and stewardship] of the Suez Canal, and to the vital assistance that Egypt provided and securing the ceasefire in Israel and Gaza.”
Austin thanked the President for Egypt assuming command of Combined Task Force 153 that assures the security of the sea lines of communication in the Red Sea..
Austin said the United States remains committed to ensuring Egypt has the capabilities to defend its people and its territory. “We will continue to work with Egypt and your neighbors to strengthen interoperability, integrated air and missile defense and maritime security,” Austin said.
For his part, El-Sisi thanked the Secretary for his welcome and said the two countries had much in common and many common interests. He noted that he and Austin had many constructive conversations when the secretary served as the commander of U.S. Central Command.
Earlier, Austin spoke on 13 December as the host of the Peace, Security and Governance Forum at the White House-led U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C. The forum was co-hosted by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Samantha Power, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.
“We want to listen to what’s important to the leaders in the region and the specific countries,” Austin said.
Also central to the forum were Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, President of Mozambique Filipe Nyusi, President of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and President of Niger Mohamed Bazoum.
The U.S. has military personnel based in all three of those nations, Austin said, and he thanked the leaders for allowing the U.S. to partner there with their forces to advance mutual security internists. (US Department of Defense (DOD); Photo ©: Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jack Sanders, DOD)