Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, and Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry hold a press conference after their meeting, at Tahrir Palace, in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. (Khaled Elfiqi/Pool photo via AP)
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Tillerson and his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukri, cited productive discussions on regional security and the struggle against Daesh (ISIS), whose Egyptian affiliate, based in the Sinai Peninsula, has struck military and civilian targets across the Arab world's most populous country.The visit comes as Egypt is undertaking a major military operation in volatile Sinai, where Islamist extremists have been leading an insurgency for years, and in remote areas of the mainland where militants have attacked security forces and civilians.Militant attacks, however, have surged under Sisi's leadership.Washington, which gives Egypt some $1.3 billion in annual military assistance and hundreds of millions more in civilian aid, withheld some $100 million of the funding last summer, ostensibly over new Egyptian legislation that blocks much foreign funding of non-governmental organizations, especially those involved in human rights research.Asked about his country's view of the upcoming vote, Tillerson said the U.S. always advocates for free and fair elections and would continue to do so.
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