US Secretary of State John Kerry has said he had "frank" talks on human rights with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi today, in a meeting to bolster an anti-Islamic State coalition.

"The United States doesn't ever trade its concern for human rights for any other objectives," Mr Kerry said at a news conference with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri.

"And we had a frank discussion about concerns that have been expressed. I believe that President Sisi and Foreign Minister Shoukri and others are well aware of concerns that have been expressed."

Mr Kerry is in Cairo on the latest leg of a regional tour to forge a coalition against Islamic State jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

Relations between Washington and Cairo have been strained since the military's overthrow of elected Islamist president Mohamed Mursi last year.

The Egyptian government sees the fight against IS as its cause as well.

Mr Mursi's successor, the former army chief Mr Sisi, is fighting Islamist militants in the restive Sinai Peninsula who have expressed support for the Islamic State.

But it appears unlikely that Egypt's formidable army will make a significant military contribution to the fight in Iraq and Syria.