John Kerry in Cairo for Egypt security talks

Secretary of State John Kerry is in Cairo for security talks with Egyptian officials before heading to Qatar to try to ease Arab concerns about the Iran nuclear deal.

PTI| Updated: Aug 02, 2015, 03:32 AM IST

Cairo: Secretary of State John Kerry is in Cairo for security talks with Egyptian officials before heading to Qatar to try to ease Arab concerns about the Iran nuclear deal.

Kerry arrived in the Egyptian capital on Saturday and on Sunday will resume a US-Egypt strategic dialogue that was suspended in 2009 due to political unrest.

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. On Friday, the US delivered eight F-16 warplanes to Egypt, part of a military support package.

Sinai-based militants have been launching increasingly sophisticated attacks in recent months that have killed dozens of Egyptian soldiers and police. The latest wave of violence began after the military overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Morsi two years ago.

US military assistance to Egypt had been on hold until earlier this year due to human rights and democracy concerns in the wake of the coup, but was resumed by the administration for national security reasons.

Some lawmakers and numerous advocacy groups are urging Kerry to raise human rights issues with Egyptian authorities, including the arrests of dissidents and journalists, mass trials, and sentencings of Morsi supporters. US officials said those concerns would be raised at all of Kerry's meetings in Cairo and noted that the State Department's top diplomat for human rights and democracy would be accompanying him.