Secretary of State John Kerry was in Egypt on Sunday at the start of his trip to the Middle East and Europe this week, during which the situation in Iraq is expected to be a major discussion point.

Kerry met in Cairo with newly elected Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, followed by a joint news conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri.

When asked during that news conference if U.S. policy was the cause of recent violence in Iraq and Libya, Kerry said, “The United States of America was not responsible for what happened in Libya, and nor is it responsible for what is happening in Iraq today,” reported Newsweek.

More on Kerry’s comments from NPR:

In a press conference following his meeting with el-Sissi, Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States is not responsible for what is happening in Iraq today.

“What is happening in Iraq is not happening because of the United States in terms of the current crisis,” Kerry said. “The United States shed blood and worked hard for years to provide Iraqis the opportunity to have their own governments.”

Kerry said the U.S. would like the Iraqi people to “find leadership that is prepared to represent all of the people of Iraq, that is prepared to be inclusive and share power in a way that will maximize the ability of Iraq to focus on the real danger at this moment from an external source which is [ISIS].”

Kerry added that the United States, however, will not dictate who Iraq’s next leader should be.

“That is up to the Iraqi people,” Kerry said.

Kerry also spoke about the threat that ISIL (aka ISIS) poses, saying that “ISIL is a threat to all of the countries in the region.”

“No country is safe from that kind of spread of terror, and none of us can afford to leave that entity with a safe haven which would become a base for terror against anyone and all, not only in the region, but outside of the region as well,” Kerry said.

Additional comments from Kerry on video below, from the NY Times.

[Featured image: NY Times video]


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