US Secretary of State says Washington backs Egypt in fight against terrorism

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US Secretary of State says Washington backs Egypt in fight against terrorism

Asked about the Tillerson said the United States supports a credible, transparent election in Egypt and Libya.

In Ankara, Tillerson will press Turkey to release Americans detained by Ankara, and urge the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally to show restraint in military operations in northern Syria, according to senior USA officials.

Mr Tillerson landed in Cairo late on Sunday and had dinner with Mr Shoukry. Tillerson also will raise human rights and democracy issues, according to officials, who previewed the trip on condition they not be quoted by name.

After his talks with el-Sissi, Tillerson is travelling on to Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, where he will meet local officails as well as Saudi, Emirati, Iraqi and Syrian delegations.

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The campaign also comes ahead of March elections in which President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi faces no serious competitors, after authorities sidelined his opponents using a variety of charges and disqualifications, leaving only a little-known supporter to run against him. The opposition is boycotting as some potential rivals have been arrested or barred from running.

Mr Tillerson's trip to Cairo comes after Vice President Mike Pence visited last month to discuss security in the region and the future of USA aid to Egypt.

US President Donald Trump announced in December his decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and said he would move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv, sparking fury in Arab and Muslim countries.

In Kuwait on Tuesday, Tillerson will attend a conference focusing on how to reconstruct a devastated Iraq in the years and decades ahead, relying largely on private-sector companies and global financial organisations.

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"These are some of our closest partners but they are also partners with whom we are facing some of the toughest issues that we have to face in the region, whether its terrorism, whether it's the future of USA assistance, whether it's the final defeat of ISIS (the Islamic State militant group)".

The U.S. officials said the aim was to keep the coalition focused on the complete defeat of IS and other groups, and then rebuilding war-devastated zones to prevent extremists from regaining territory. Instead, he will press companies and banks to boost activities in Iraq to spur long-term development.

Jordanian leaders were upset when the United States recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and suspended some aid for the Palestinians. All four nations complained that Qatar was moving too close to Iran and supporting militant groups. Jordan, which has a large Palestinian population, including refugees, is among the most concerned.

Tillerson will conclude the trip in Ankara with talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which are expected to be tense.

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"We are urging them [Turkish authorities] to show restraint in their operations in Afrin, and to show restraint further along the line across the border in northern Syria", said a senior State Department official.

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