News / Middle East

Clinton Promises Support, Money to New Egyptian Government

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby conduct a press conference Tuesday March 15, 2011, inside Tahrir Palace in Cairo.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby conduct a press conference Tuesday March 15, 2011, inside Tahrir Palace in Cairo.
Elizabeth Arrott

U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Egypt on Tuesday for talks with members of the country's new government as well as Egypt's emerging civil society.  One of the key issues on Clinton's agenda is economic aid.

Secretary of State Clinton came with words of encouragement and praise for the people of Egypt.  "This moment of history belongs to you.  That this is your achievement.  You broke barriers and overcame obstacles to pursue the dream of democracy.  And the United States and President Obama and I will stand with you as you make this journey," she said.

To help that journey along, Clinton promised financial as well as political support.  After meeting her Egyptian counterpart Nabil Elaraby, she announced a series of aid packages:  $90 million in near-term economic assistance;  $80 million toward insuring letters of credit, plus a new U.S.-Egypt Enterprise Fund and an increase in special duty-free investment zones.

Clinton is the highest ranking Obama administration official to visit Egypt since demonstrations forced out the previous government last month.

Egypt's new Foreign Minister Elaraby said he welcomed the chance to discuss a wide range of issues with the U.S. secretary of state. "We discussed everything in Egypt, in the Middle East in general, specifically in Libya.  We discussed matters relating to Palestine between us also.  And I think we did, at least on our part, we appreciated very much the responses from the Secretary of State.  We are appreciative and we hope the very close relations with the United States will continue to flourish in the future," he said.

The events in neighboring Libya have overshadowed much of Clinton's tour, which began in Paris on Monday and continues on to Tunisia on Wednesday.  Clinton made reference to continued discussions about a possible no-fly zone over Libya to protect opponents of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, even as the time for such cover to be effective might be slipping away.  She also called for restraint on all sides in Bahrain, where Saudi-led forces came to the aid of the ruling family this week.

A State Department official said Clinton conveyed her deep concern about the violence in Bahrain in a telephone conversation with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud earlier in the day.  In addition to meetings with government officials, Clinton is set to meet with representatives of the activists behind Egypt's demonstrations and their advisors on Tuesday and Wednesday.

One of those advisors, Hisham Kassem, welcomed the idea of U.S. financial assistance to Egypt.  But he said he would like to see it tied to political reforms in Cairo. "If this was to be in packages where there are free elections, 20 percent of the debt is taken off.  Security sector reform?  You take off another.  Judicial reform, etc, until you know there is the possibility to scratch the debts completely," he said.

While Kassem said he is looking forward to speaking with Clinton, some youth groups rejected the invitation to meet with the U.S. diplomat.  They pointed to the initial reluctance of the United States to back their movement and a perceived hesitancy in U.S. policy toward other reform movements in the Arab world.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid