Egyptian president meets Kushner after cut in US aid
Jared Kushner earlier met Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces to discuss Palestinian-Israeli peace
White House adviser Jared Kushner has met Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El Sisi the day after the U.S. confirmed it was cutting aid to the country because of concerns over its human rights record.
The US cut nearly US$100 million (Dh367m) in military and economic aid to Egypt and withheld nearly $200m more in military financing, a move that surprised many, given the close ties forged since Mr Trump took office.
The US president has repeatedly hailed Mr El Sisi as a major ally in the fight against terrorism. He set aside criticism of Mr El Sisi’s rights record while pledging to maintain support for the key US ally, which receives an annual $1.3bn in military aid.
Egypt said that the US assistance cuts were “a misjudgment” and that the move “may have negative repercussions”. Reports that foreign minister Sameh Shoukry would snub the US delegation in protest over the cuts proved unfounded as he joined the meeting and welcomed the delegation to his ministry.
Egyptian authorities have been fighting an insurgency in the north of the Sinai Peninsula, where an ISIL affiliate has killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen. The Pentagon is also keen to prevent extremists from crossing Libya’s porous border with Egypt.
Mr Kushner is touring the Middle East to explore ways to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks – which collapsed in 2014 – in a task he was given after his father-in-law US president Donald Trump took office this year.
On Tuesday the US party – which includes special negotiator Jason Greenblatt, deputy national security adviser Dina Powell and deputy assistant secretary of state Tim Lenderking – met Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
The UAE and US agreed to advance their shared goal of achieving genuine and lasting peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis and reaffirmed that cutting off all kinds of support for terrorists and extremists was a priority.
They said they would continue to co-ordinate on efforts in this area. The delegation has also met Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and his senior advisers.
On Tuesday, the Saudi crown prince and the US delegation also agreed to co-operate in finding lasting peace between Israel and Palestine.
Countries that are also on the Kushner delegation’s agenda are Jordan, Palestine and Israel, although the exact itinerary has not been released.
Updated: August 24, 2017 12:19 AM