Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri speaks during a news conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry after meetings at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Cairo August 2, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan Smialowski/Pool

Egypt’s FM Shoukry heads to Washington for anti-IS group coalition meeting

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry flew to Washington on Tuesday evening to participate in the ministerial meeting of the international anti-Islamic State group coalition hosted by the United States, a statement by the Egyptian foreign ministry announced.

According to statements by foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid, Shoukry is set to attend the meeting held in Washington with the participation of 43 countries for the international coalitions against the Islamic State group.

Several defense ministers from countries participating in military strikes against the group in Syria and Iraq will also be taking a part in the summit along with the foreign ministers of the anti-IS group alliance.

Egypt is a major supporter of the US-led coalition against the IS group.

Egyptian security forces have been fighting a decade-long Islamist insurgency in parts of North Sinai that spiked following the 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, with the Islamic State group’s Egyptian affiliate claiming responsibility for most of the attacks.

Shoukry is also expected to attend a quadrilateral meeting held by the US that will also be attended by Egypt, Italy, and the United Arab Emirates to discuss the latest developments in the Libyan crisis.

Libya plunged into chaos following the 2011 toppling and killing of dictator Muammar Gadhafi and is now torn between a U.N.-backed unity government and rebel Islamist government.

Egypt has repeatedly expressed its faith in the inevitability of a political solution to the Libyan crisis.

The Egyptian minister is also set to attend another ministerial meeting on Thursday called for by the European Union’s Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini to discuss updates on the Palestinian cause and the efforts being exerted to push the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis forward.

Egypt, Jordan, the European Union, and Saudi Arabia are expected to participate in the meetings.

Egypt is currently supporting the Paris peace initiative aimed at reviving negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis.

According to Abu Zeid, a bilateral meeting is set to take place between Egypt’s Shoukry and his US counterpart John Kerry, where both sides will discuss all aspects related to their mutual ties, according to the statement.

Shoukry and Kerry will hold talks about regional issues, including developments on the Palestinian cause and the situation in Libya and Syria.

Last week, following his return from a first time visit by an Egyptian foreign minister to Israel since 2007, Shoukry received a phone call from Kerry where the US official discussed with him the outcomes of his visit and the efforts made to encourage the Palestinians and Israelis to resume the peace process.

During the Israel visit, Shoukry reiterated to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Egypt is a “steadfast and unwavering” supporter of the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Egyptian foreign minister stressed that the two-state solution is supported by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and other state officials.

Discussions related to the Palestinian issue have been on the rise since the Egyptian president’s call in a May speech to Palestinian and Israeli leaders that peace, prosperity and cooperation will only take place if both parties are able to reach a two-state solution.

 

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