He will not visit Israel, America’s foremost Mideast ally and the primary foreign opponent of the Iran agreement.
Kerry has not been to the country in several months, as relations have soured over the Iran deal. They noted that Defense Secretary Ash Carter had visited the Jewish state in mid-July and that contacts with Israeli officials continue to be robust.
Though Cairo is only about 250 air miles (400 kilometers) from Jerusalem, Kerry is skipping what used to be an nearly mandatory stop in Israel, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is waging a public battle to kill the Iran deal in the U.S. Congress.
The U.S. State Department has already approved the request by Saudi Arabia to purchase the PAC-3 missiles, according to a memorandum the Pentagon sent Congress on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia is the largest and most influential member of the council and has been publicly supportive of the Iran deal, albeit with reservations. “Therefore, Saudi Arabia needs a regional backer such as Egypt. Tehran’s behaviour has changed for the worse since the nuclear accord”.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which is meeting in Kuala Lumpur this year, is a close partner of the United States – a key partner for the group in the face of regional ambitions from neighboring powerhouse China.
Kerry will begin his trip in Cairo, where he and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will co-host a strategic dialogue, focusing on a broad range of issues. Despite continuing human rights concerns, the Obama administration is increasing military assistance to Egypt as it confronts growing threats from extremists, particularly on the Sinai peninsula.
In a statement released after a meeting between President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Saudi defence minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday, el-Sisi’s office said the two leaders also will work to create a joint Arab military force.
All eight from this first batch will arrive by Friday, with four more to be delivered later this year.
A bipartisan group of senators urged Kerry in a letter to make political reform, human rights and fundamental freedoms a “central element” of the talks.
Assistant Secretary Tom Malinowski, will be joining Kerry, according to the official, who said he “will have an opportunity to discuss with his counterparts some of the issues that we have, some of the concerns that we have about the situation”. During the visit, the two countries signed the Cairo Declaration.
“Except for some media reports – which are part of the corruption of Egypt and they harm its foreign relations – I have not read an official statement expressing Egyptian resentment towards Saudi’s openness to Hamas”.
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