Latest developments remind US of Egypt’s leading role in Middle East
CAIRO - US Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan held talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during an unannounced visit to Cairo, the president's office said.
The Sunday evening meeting came amid a quickening rapprochement between the longtime allies after Washington in March lifted a partial freeze on its $1.5 billion annual aid to Egypt that it imposed when then-army chief Sisi ousted elected president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
"The meeting underscored the strong ties between Egypt and the USA and the importance of their strategic relationship as well as their commitment to promote relations," a statement from the president's office said.
"The two sides agreed to continue consultation and coordination on issues of mutual interest, particularly with regard to areas witnessing conflict in the Middle East and international efforts to eradicate terrorism."
Egypt has been battling jihadists in the Sinai Peninsula who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group which controls swathes of Iraq and Syria.
It has also voiced growing concern about the jihadist presence in its eastern neighbour Libya where IS has exploited a power struggle between rival governments to launch increasingly grisly attacks, most recently the videotaped executions of 30 Ethiopian Christians.