CIA Chief Burns meets with Egypt’s Sisi

CIA Director William Burns met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo Sunday for talks targeted on safety cooperation and regional crises, the Egyptian presidency mentioned.

The assembly coated “a number of regional issues of common interest, especially tensions in the Middle East as well as Afghanistan, the Renaissance Dam (in Ethiopia) and the crisis in Libya,” learn a press release from Sisi’s workplace.

The Biden administration has praised Cairo for its function in mediating the most recent spherical of Palestinian-Israeli violence. In May, Egypt brokered a cease-fire between Israel and Gaza-based militant group Hamas, ending 11 days of preventing that killed over 250 Palestinians and 13 residents of Israel.

Burns and Sisi reportedly mentioned the North African nation’s long-running dispute with Ethiopia over Addis Ababa’s filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), a megadam on the Nile’s primary tributary that each Egypt and Sudan say may dangerously limit their freshwater provides.

Also current for the talks was US Ambassador to Egypt Jonathan Cohen and head of Egyptian intelligence Chief Abbas Kamel, whose go to to Washington final month was slammed by human rights teams.

The Egyptian readout of the assembly between Burns and Sisi didn’t point out human rights, which Secretary of State Antony Blinken pledged can be “central” to the US-Egypt relationship. During the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden pledged no more “blank checks” for Sisi, a military general turned dictator accused of a sweeping clampdown on dissent.

At $1.3 billion annually, Egypt is the second-highest recipient of US military financing after Israel. By the end of September, Blinken must decide whether to release $300 million in military aid that’s conditioned on Egypt making progress on human rights.

Dana Stroul, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East, told a Senate hearing last week that continued aid is necessary in light of Egypt’s “legitimate security concerns.”

“Security assistance to Egypt is a critical tool in supporting those needs,” she instructed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “The present view of the administration is that Egypt is enjoying a constructive function relating to border safety, Libya, GERD, clearly the battle in Gaza, et cetera.”

Burns, a profession diplomat, met final week with new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in Tel Aviv to debate threats posed by Iran and its nuclear program. His assembly with Bennett adopted a deadly drone strike on an Israeli-linked vessel off the coast of Oman that each the United States and Israel have blamed on Tehran.

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