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Foreign Ministry: Egypt won’t be part of US alliance against ISIS

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Thursday that it is not logical to mobilize international resources to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) when Egypt is prevented from accessing these resources while fighting a similar enemy internally.

Shoukry’s remarks came as a part of an international conference held in Saudi Arabia to discuss ways for international and regional cooperation to combat terrorism in the Middle East. The conference was held hours after a speech by US President Barack Obama on the 13th anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks on the same issue.

Shoukry added that Egypt’s efforts to combat terrorism started as early as the June 30 mass protests of last year, which called for the end of the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule. Shoukry deemed the group as the umbrella that provided all radical and terrorist movements in the region with an ideological base.

Obama declared a new military campaign against ISIS in the context of a global fight with Islamist radicals in the region beyond Syria and Iraq. The summit in Saudi Arabia on Thursday was held by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Reuters reported that Kerry pressured Arab leaders to support Obama’s campaign and take part in the global action. AFP reported on Wednesday that Obama called the Saudi King prior to his speech, telling him that Saudi is an integral regional partner in the campaign.

“We may need enhanced basing and overflights. There’s going to be a meeting soon of defense ministers to work on these details,” A senior State Department official told Reuters.

In the Jeddah talks, Kerry will urge regional television news outlets, specifically Al Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, to air anti-extremist messages, said the senior US official.

“They need to get at the clerics, because the clerics can get at the mosques in the neighborhood and they have to expose ISIL for what it is,” the official told reporters.

Saudi Arabia is pivotal, say US officials, because of its regional stature and influence with Sunni Arabs.

The White House says it will target the group’s “leadership, logistical and operational capability,” and attempt to “deny it sanctuary and resources to plan, prepare and execute attacks.”

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