Today in Cairo, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to reaffirm the United States' commitment to the bilateral relationship and exchange views on shared regional and global security challenges.
The Secretary praised Egypt's regional and global leadership, in particular thanking the President for Egypt's role mediating Israeli-Palestinian tensions. He provided updates on Russia's unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine, its global economic consequences, and the threat that this conflict poses to the rules-based international order. The Secretary highlighted U.S. solidarity with Egypt in the face of the economic hardship caused by Russia's brutal, unprovoked, and unjustified war. The Secretary also shared his concern regarding the wide range of threats posed by Iran, including its nuclear program, destabilizing regional activities, and provision of unmanned aerial systems to Russia. Finally, the Secretary emphasized the United States' enduring commitment to the region and reinforced that progress on fundamental freedoms and human rights further strengthens our bilateral relationship.
In a subsequent meeting with Minister of Defense Muhammed Zaki, the Secretary praised Egypt for taking command of the Combined Maritime Forces' Task Force 153, which focuses on Red Sea security. The Secretary also highlighted the upcoming combined exercise, BRIGHT STAR 23, as a demonstration of Egypt's leadership and the strength of continued U.S.-Egypt cooperation to improve regional security and credible deterrence. The Secretary affirmed his commitment to enhancing interoperability between U.S. and Egyptian armed forces, acknowledged the Egyptian military's important steps to reduce civilian harm during operations, and underscored the Department of Defense's commitment to working with Egypt to enhance its defensive capabilities.
In both meetings, the leaders agreed to strengthen their close coordination on these issues and pursue opportunities to deepen the decades-long bilateral defense partnership.