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US warns Egypt that human rights abuses can hurt fight against terrorism

The United States warned Egypt on Sunday that human rights abuses and restricting freedoms can hurt the country's fight against terrorism. "The success of our fight against terrorism depends on building trust between the authorities and the public," Secretary of State John Kerry told his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, at a joint press conference.

"If that possibility does not exist, then, regrettably, more misguided people will be driven to violence and there will be more attacks," Kerry noted, after the first strategic dialogue with the Egyptians since 2009. Nevertheless, the two ministers emphasised "increasing efforts to combat terrorism and expanding cooperation in the fight against extremism" as well as support for the Egyptian army.

"Jihadists who kill civilians must be fought," explained Kerry, but he pointed out "the need to distinguish between those who use violence and extremism to reach their goals, and those who wish to participate peacefully in the political dialogue, even if they sometimes use different logos." It is important, he added, "to have a fair judicial system and full clarification of the role of the law."

The next elections in Egypt, said the US official, will be a sign of commitment to freedom and stability. "Egypt is fully aware of what worries Washington, and the Egyptian foreign minister understands this very well."

According to Shoukry, his country is "committed to respecting the law and the judicial system." Egypt and the US, he said, have agreed to "redouble efforts to combat terrorism."

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