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Blinken asks Egypt for rights progress before climate meet

The sun rises behind the skyline of Egypt's capital Cairo and its Nile river island of Manial
— Washington (AFP)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Thursday for Egypt to free political prisoners as leaders prepare to visit for the global climate summit.

Rights groups estimate that some 60,000 political prisoners are behind bars in Egypt, which starting next week will welcome more than 90 world leaders including President Joe Biden for COP27.

In a call with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Blinken discussed climate and said that US-Egypt cooperation "is strengthened by tangible progress on human rights," the State Department said.

Blinken "welcomed the reported releases over the preceding months of significant numbers of political detainees, and voiced support for additional such pardons and releases, as well as for steps to strengthen due process of law and protections for fundamental freedoms for all," it said.

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