CAIRO, June 22 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held talks on Sunday with Egyptian newly-elected President Abdel- Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo in the first visit of a high-profile U.S. official to Egypt since Sisi took office earlier this month.
Kerry told a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry that the United States, like President Barack Obama said earlier, is looking forward to working closely with President Sisi.
Kerry praised Sisi for the inclusive talks through which they discussed bilateral ties, strategic partnership, the "critical" situation the region is going through, citing the conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Libya.
The U.S. Secretary of State also voiced his country's support for rights and freedoms in Egypt including the freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly.
"I emphasized also our strong support for upholding the universal rights and freedoms of all Egyptians including freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association," Kerry continued, stressing "the essential role of a vibrant civil society, free press, rule of law and due process in a democracy."
The visit comes one day after Egypt confirmed mass death sentences of 183 supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and members of the currently-blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood group including its leader Mohamed Badei.
Before meeting with Sisi, Kerry held discussions with Shoukry where the former reaffirmed that "the United States is very interested" in working closely and cooperating with Egypt's new leadership.
For his part, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, who served as ambassador to Washington from 2008 to 2012, said that the disorder in Libya, Syria and Iraq and the stumbling peace process between the Palestinians and the Israelis require more cooperation between Egypt and the United States.
Shoukry told reporters that the U.S.-Egyptian relations are governed by "mutual interests and the principle of mutual respect, " stressing the "strategic dimension" of the ties between the United States as an international big power and Egypt as an influential regional power.
Analysts see that Kerry's visit might aim to warm the U.S. ties with Egypt, a key strategic ally for the United States in the Middle East since Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.
Cairo-Washington ties have been strained since the removal of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi by the army due to mass protests against his one-year rule and his currently-blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood group.
The U.S. administration has recently decided to release a partial suspension of aid to Egypt by delivering 10 Apache attack helicopters and 650 million U.S. dollars to the turmoil-stricken country. The U.S. annual military aid to Egypt has been suspended since Morsi's removal.
On the other hand, Kerry's visit came two days after Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud made a brief visit to Cairo and met with the Egyptian newly-elected president. Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, are major oil-rich Gulf supporters of Sisi's removal of Morsi and assuming power.
The visit is part of Kerry's tour in the region on the Iraqi crisis during which he is expected to visit Iraq, where anti- Shiite armed insurgents have recently seized a number of Iraqi cities.
Since the removal of Morsi, the U.S. administration has expressed concern over human rights and freedoms in Egypt and showed reluctance towards the country's interim leadership over the past year.
Video: Egypt's Sisi swears in new government
News Analysis: Kerry visit signals breakthrough in U.S.-Egypt ties
CAIRO, June 22 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held talks on Sunday with Egypt's newly-elected President Abdel- Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo in the first visit of a high-profile U.S. official to Egypt since Sisi took office earlier this month.
The visit is seen by Egyptian experts as a sign of warming relations between Washington and Cairo after months of tensions since the removal of the first-democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi by the military last July following mass protests against his one-year rule and his currently-blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood group. Full Story