U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Thursday he was optimistic about improving military ties with Egypt after talks in Cairo with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, following a period of strain under the Obama administration.
Earlier this month President Donald Trump moved to reset U.S. relations with Egypt, hosting Sisi for talks at the White House and giving him firm backing, including in the fight against Islamist militants.
“I left Cairo very confident, very confident in the avenues we have to advance our military-to-military relationship, which has been a bedrock and has stood solid all these years,” Mattis told reporters in Tel Aviv, without elaborating.
A U.S. defense official said Mattis’ meetings with Sisi and Egypt’s defense minister had focused on building trust to allow for stronger military ties.
A statement from Sisi’s office said Egypt was keen “on further advancing bilateral relations under the new American administration”.