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Joint Press Conf. Secretary Cohen and General Tantawi, Cairo, Egypt, Apr 19, 98

Presenters: Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen and Field Marshall General Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, Egypt
April 19, 1998 12:00 PM EDT

Secretary Cohen: Good morning. Egypt and the United States have a strong strategic partnership based on our shared commitment to stability in the Middle East. President Mubarak and I have just finished a very good meeting in which we reviewed ways in which we can continue to work together to advance that goal. We agreed that progress toward a comprehensive Middle East peace agreement is fundamental to maintaining stability in the region. And I conveyed to him President Clinton's determination to continue to work for peace and noted that Dennis Ross, the Middle East envoy, will soon return to the region for talks.

We discussed our shared opposition to terrorism and to our commitment to containing Iraq and Iran. Egypt has been extremely helpful in stressing the need for full Iraqi compliance with the United Nations mandates. In discussing our partnership, I assured him that the United States will continue to support Egypt's program to modernize its military. This year, we are going to provide 1.3 billion dollars in grants and our troops are going to continue to exercise and train together. That program of cooperation will include 50 Avenger vehicles with Stinger missiles, some two frigates, torpedoes, and Harpoon anti-ship missiles and co-production of tank recovery vehicles.

Later today, I'm going to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and President Sadat's grave. And I will recognize Egypt's leadership and sacrifice in the struggle for peace and give thanks that Egypt is continuing that campaign. Thank you.

Q: There's a lot of feeling in the Arab World that the Israelis are dragging their feet on the peace process among not only all Arabs but among Arab leaders. What message did President Mubarak and you give to the Secretary on this impatience in the Arab World with the peace process, could I ask, sir? I'm asking that the General take this.

A: (General Tantawi): I think President Mubarak is going to push the peace process and I think the United States wants to – President Clinton is going to push the peace process. And I hope they will succeed in pushing the peace process in the region.

Q: (Inaudible)

A: (Tantawi): I don't think so. Thank you.

Q: Excuse me. Did they discuss the subjects of increasing the military aid to Egypt and our sharing of the [United] States in the maneuvers between Egypt and Greece? There are two subjects of increasing the military aid to Egypt and if the States are going to share in the maneuvers between Egypt and Greece?

A: (Cohen): We did discuss how we might improve the contributions to the security of Egypt and then we talked about that in general. We will have discussions later this afternoon on that subject matter.

Q: The maneuvers between Egypt and Greece, are the States going to have a share in it, take part in it, as between Turkey and Israel?

A: (Tantawi): We are going to discuss these matters after a while.

Thank you.

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