U.S. pleased with Egypt's security assistance

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

The State Department has expressed satisfaction with security measures taken by Egypt to protect U.S. interests.

The State Department report entitled "Patterns of Global Terrorism 2002" provided the first official description of efforts by Cairo and Damascus to protect both American citizens and interests in the two Arab states. The report said both countries have cooperated with the United States to bolster security measures in times of tension.

The report said the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak increased security for U.S. civilian and military personnel over the last year amid the military buildup in the Persian Gulf. The security measures were meant to protect U.S. naval ships and supply vessels that brought troops and equipment for Central Command in Kuwait, Middle East Newsline reported.

"In addition to combating global terrorism, Cairo continued to place a high priority on the protection of U.S. citizens and facilities in Egypt," the report, issued last month, said. "It increased security for U.S. citizens and facilities and for U.S. forces, both stationed in Egypt and transiting the country to the Gulf, by air or through the Suez Canal. Egypt has strengthened its airport security, agreed to stricter aviation-security measures, and granted extensive overflight and canal transit clearances."

The State Department also described Syrian security measures to protect Americans and U.S. installations in and around Damascus during 2002. The regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, the report, said has cooperated in foiling attacks by Al Qaida and aligned groups.

"In times of increased threat, it [Syria] has increased police protection around the U.S. embassy," the report said. "During the past five years, there have been no acts of terrorism against U.S. citizens in Syria.

The government of Syria has cooperated significantly with the United States and other foreign governments against Al Qaida, the Taliban, and other terrorist organizations and individuals. It also has discouraged any signs of public support for Al Qaida, including in the media and at mosques."

Syria has remained on the list of State Department terrorist sponsors. The department said Syria continues to harbor a range of groups deemed as terrorists in Damascus.

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