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Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III's Remarks Welcoming Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to the Pentagon

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE LLOYD J. AUSTIN III: Mr. President, welcome back to the Pentagon. Let me start by congratulating you on a successful conclusion to the 27th UN Climate Change Conference. Hosting this important conference set a clear example of Egypt's impact on the world stage.

And I know that we're celebrating 100 years of diplomatic relations between the United States and Egypt this year. The administration greatly appreciates Egypt's leadership and cooperation in achieving our shared security objectives.

We've seen that leadership, and Egypt's courage, in becoming the first Arab state to establish diplomatic relations with Israel; to your responsible stewardship on the Suez Canal; and to the vital assistance that Egypt provided in securing the ceasefire in Israel and Gaza this past August.

The administration also applauds Egypt's recent assumption of command of Combined Task Force 153, as a part of the Combined Maritime Forces' efforts to ensure the security of vital sea lanes in the Red Sea. And we remain committed to ensuring that Egypt has the capabilities to defend its people and its territory.

So we will continue to work with Egypt and your neighbors to strengthen interoperability, integrated air and missile defense, and maritime security. Mr. President, as you know, I am personally committed to deepening our bilateral defense cooperation and to advancing our shared defense priorities.

Our agenda today extends beyond regional challenges. We're also looking forward to discussing the threats posed by Russia's unprovoked war of choice on Ukraine, and Russia's invasion threatens the rules-based international order that keeps us all secure, and it reminds us of the dangers of disorder.

Mr. President, thanks again for joining us to consult on matters of both regional and global security, and I look forward to our important discussions today.

PRESIDENT ABDEL FATTAH EL-SISI (SPEAKING THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Mr. Secretary, thank you very much for the warm welcome. It's very good to be back in the Pentagon. And I'd like to start by wishing you and everyone in the United States and the whole world a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We also congratulate ourselves as we celebrate 100 years of mutual diplomatic relations between our two countries.

I'd like to say also that the success of Egypt in COP 27 is much attributed to the major support provided by the United States. The United States was key to get to the outcome that we all desired. This is a great achievement that has given credit to Egypt, but it would not have been possible without the support of the United States.

I'm quite sure that our discussions this afternoon will be very constructive and very important, because the military-to-military relations between our two countries and also the security relations have always been the key, and the core, of the overall relationship between Egypt and the United States. It's been the backbone and the (inaudible) and that is why I believe that our discussions really serve our mutual interests in this regard.

On a personal note, I hold you in very high esteem. I have had a great respect and admiration of you since you were the Commander of CENTCOM. I still remember our frequent meetings and how positive and constructive you were, and you showed a lot of common understanding on many issues.

So I thank you very much. I thank you all.

SEC. AUSTIN: Welcome, Mr. President. Thank you. Thanks, everybody.