Newspaper article International New York Times

To Defeat Militants, Egypt Must Protect Rights, Kerry Says

Newspaper article International New York Times

To Defeat Militants, Egypt Must Protect Rights, Kerry Says

Article excerpt

The secretary of state told the Egyptian authorities that they would not be able to defeat terrorism unless they showed greater respect for human rights.

Secretary of State John Kerry told the Egyptian authorities on Sunday that they would not be able to defeat terrorism at home unless they showed greater respect for human rights.

"The success of our fight against terrorism depends on building trust between the authorities and the public," Mr. Kerry said at a joint news conference with his Egyptian counterpart. "If that possibility does not exist, then, regrettably, more misguided people will be driven to violence and there will be more attacks."

But with the United States worried about militants in Sinai and Libya who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State extremist group, American officials also signaled that they would not let their concerns with human rights stand in the way of increased security cooperation with Egypt.

Mr. Kerry said the United States was moving toward resuming "Bright Star," the joint military exercise President Obama suspended in August 2013 after Egypt's generals cracked down on supporters of Mohamed Morsi, the president they ousted from power.

And he said the two sides had also discussed other ways the United States could step up its cooperation with Egypt's military, including expanding training efforts and helping the Egyptians better police their border with Libya.

When Mr. Kerry arrived here on Saturday, the United States Embassy announced in a Twitter message the arrival of eight American- made F-16s for Egypt's Air Force and provided a link to a video of the planes flying in formation over Cairo.

"Long Live Egypt," the embassy posting said, in Arabic, repeating a phrase that is known here primarily as the slogan from President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's election campaign.

"We are deeply concerned about the developments in Sinai," said a senior State Department official who asked not to be named under the agency's protocol for briefing reporters. "We are worried about the direction of events."

Mr. Kerry was accompanied by a team of senior aides on economic, security and human rights issues, and his meetings here were the first full-fledged "strategic dialogue" with Egypt since 2009.

The discussions, which included a meeting with Mr. Sisi, were another step aimed at rebuilding ties and followed the Obama administration's decision earlier this year to end a suspension of hundreds of millions of the annual $1.3 billion in American military aid to Egypt.

As the two sides met, an Egyptian court postponed its announcement of a verdict in the case involving three journalists for Al Jazeera's English-language network, rescheduling the announcement for the end of August.

The three were arrested at the end of 2013 and charged with conspiring to destabilize Egypt. …

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