Egypt’s El-Sisi, Biden adviser Sullivan hold talks on regional tensions

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, second right, meets with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and their delegations at the foreign ministry, in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021. (AP)
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White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, second right, meets with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and their delegations at the foreign ministry, in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021. (AP)
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri (R) meets with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan (L), in the capital Cairo, on Sept. 29, 2021. (AFP/Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
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Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri (R) meets with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan (L), in the capital Cairo, on Sept. 29, 2021. (AFP/Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
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Updated 30 September 2021

Egypt’s El-Sisi, Biden adviser Sullivan hold talks on regional tensions

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri (R) meets with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan (L), in the capital Cairo, on Sept. 29, 2021. (AFP/Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Sullivan emphasized President Biden’s support for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians
  • He said the US wants to see a diplomatic solution to the Ethiopian dam issue

CAIRO: US President Joe Biden’s national security adviser held talks Wednesday with Egypt’s president that focused on regional tensions and the ties between Washington and its Mideast ally, the Egyptian leader’s office said.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukry attended the talks, which came after Sullivan paid visits to Saudi Arabia and the UAE for talks focused on finding an end to the war in Yemen.
El-Sisi’s office said in a statement the talks also addressed efforts to revive peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians amid rising tensions between the Jewish state and Hamas.
The region has seen an increase in fighting in recent weeks, with tensions fueled by Israeli settlement construction and heightened militant activity in the northern West Bank.
Egypt has long played a role as mediator between Israel and Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip. El-Sisi’s government brokered a cease-fire after an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas erupted in May.
The statement said the talks also touched on the situation in Libya as the chaos-wrecked North African nation heads toward elections late this year.
The US, Egypt and other Western nations are pushing for holding presidential and parliamentary elections in Libya as scheduled on Dec. 24, hoping the vote will end a decade-long chaos in the oil-rich nation.
El-Sisi and Sullivan also discussed a decade-long dispute over a massive dam Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile, the main tributary of the Nile River.
Ethiopia says the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is crucial for its economic development. Egypt and Sudan, downstream countries, say the project is a threat to their water security and have called for a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam’s reservoir.
El-Sisi urged the international community to play “an effective role” to resolve the dispute. “Egypt will not accept damage to its water interests,” he said.
The Biden administration sees the dam dispute as potential flashpoint in the turbulent Horn of Africa but has sought to take a back seat to the African Union in finding a resolution.
Sullivan told the Egyptian president that the US wants to see a diplomatic solution to the Ethiopian dam issue, but also recognized Egypt’s concerns about access to Nile River waters, according to the Biden administration official.
The two sides also discussed promoting Iraq’s stability and regional integration, addressing Lebanon’s financial crisis, promoting a return to constitutional order in Tunisia, and supporting a civilian-led transition of government in Sudan, the official said.