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ISIS advances in Iraq provide new context for US-Egypt ties

US Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to Cairo has indicated a need to cooperate against the regional terror threat, despite US concerns over human rights in Egypt.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri in the capital Cairo June 22, 2014. Kerry arrived in Cairo on Sunday for talks with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi over Egypt's crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and the threat which the conflict in Iraq poses to the Middle East. REUTERS/Brendan Smialowski/Pool (EGYPT - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR3V2SV

In a surprise visit, US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Egypt on June 22 and held several meetings with the newly elected president, new minister of foreign affairs and head of the Arab League. It was the first visit by a high-ranking US official since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s inauguration. The visit was a part of a regional tour possibly designed to reach common ground on how to deal with the deteriorating situation in Iraq with the rapid advance of the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

Intensive lobbying has managed to persuade Congress to maintain its aid package to Egypt at its current levels and release $575 million, the first tranche of the $1.3 billion annual assistance to Egypt. Kerry also announced that 10 Apache helicopters on hold will be delivered “very soon” to Egypt. The visit, release of the funds and announcement regarding the helicopters are signs that the United States is eager to resume strategic cooperation with Egypt in light of the growing terror threat from radical Islamic groups such as ISIS, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis and al-Qaeda.

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