Vice President Joe Biden recently met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Sharm el-Sheikh. "Egypt and the United States," said Vice President Biden in a written statement, "are partners in a shared desire to see peace and economic prosperity in the Middle East, North Africa, and Sudan."
The United States and Egypt reiterated their shared commitment to reaching a comprehensive peace in the Middle East. "The status quo," said Mr. Biden, "is unsustainable for all sides." Israel’s legitimate security needs must be met, just as the Palestinians’ legitimate needs for sustained humanitarian assistance and regular access for reconstruction materials must also be assured.
"It is vital to make progress in the proximity talks between Israelis and Palestinians," said Mr. Biden, "to enable the parties to move to direct negotiations as soon as possible that will result in an end to the occupation that began in 1967 and to a two-state solution to the conflict with Israel and a Palestinian state living in peace and security." The U.S. is also consulting with its allies on new ways to address the humanitarian, economic, security, and political aspects of the situation in Gaza.
Vice President Biden and President Mubarak discussed their serious concerns about Iran's nuclear program. "The international community continues to witness Iran’s non-compliance with its obligations to the United Nations Security Council and the International Agency for Atomic Energy," said Vice President Biden, "as well as Iran’s unwillingness to engage seriously with the P5+1 on its nuclear program." The United States remains committed to a diplomatic resolution to these serious issues, but the U.S. will continue to hold Iran accountable for its refusal to meet its international obligations, in accordance with the United States’ dual-track policy. The U.S. remains concerned about Iran's destabilizing activities throughout the region, including with regard to its support for Hezballah and Hamas.
The U.S. and Egypt reaffirmed their commitment to supporting stability in Sudan, including Darfur, and the full implementation of Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement and preparing for the referendum on southern self-determination in 2011.
The United States continues to hold a dialogue with Egypt on a broad range of interests, including political and economic reform. "Respect for human rights and the need to continue working for a vibrant civil society and more open political competition," said Vice President Biden, "are vital for Egypt to remain strong and serve as a model to the region."