News / Africa

Clinton Visiting Egypt as Relations Change

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in Cambodia Friday, visits Egypt this weekend to meet its new president, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in Cambodia Friday, visits Egypt this weekend to meet its new president, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Margaret Besheer
CAIRO -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits Egypt over the weekend to meet the nation's first freely elected president, Mohamed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood whose Islamist followers want to reassess the previously close relations between Washington and Cairo.


Clinton's visit, scheduled to begin Sunday, comes as many Egyptians are increasingly concerned about what they consider American interference in the domestic affairs of this Arab nation of more than 80 million people.

High on the agenda for the secretary of state's meeting with President Morsi are likely to be Egypt's political transition, its struggling economy, its peace treaty with Israel, and U.S. aid totaling more than $1 billion a year.

Manar Shorbagy, a professor of political science at the American University in Cairo, says in this new phase, the United States must reassess how it deals with Egypt.

“On the part of the United States, I hope that the United States would redefine its interests in the region because so far it has been defining its interests in the region as oil and protection of Israel," Shorbagy says. "I think there is more to the Egyptian-American relationship than to do just that. It will be important to have a relationship with Egypt based on the mutual interests with Egypt.”

Egyptians want respect

She says through the Arab Spring revolution, Egyptians demanded that their own government treat them with dignity and respect, and this will now also carry over to how they deal with the rest of the world.

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi speaks to reporters after meeting Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki in Cairo, Friday, July 13.Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi speaks to reporters after meeting Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki in Cairo, Friday, July 13.
x
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi speaks to reporters after meeting Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki in Cairo, Friday, July 13.
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi speaks to reporters after meeting Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki in Cairo, Friday, July 13.
That is a popular sentiment in Egypt in the days after Mohamed Morsi was declared Egypt's first Islamist president last month. On a busy Cairo street, a mid-level government employee says Egyptians simply want respect.

“We don't ask for a lot, we don't want them to provide us the same [aid] they give Israel or the whole region," says Ahmed, an Agriculture Ministry accountant who gave only his first name. "But what is best for us - democracy, development, whatever it is - we need them to support this without looking to the gas, without looking to the strategic Suez Canal, without looking to Iran, without looking to Syria. We are a country.”

President Obama's visit recalled

In 2009, President Barack Obama came to Cairo and made a historic speech about a “new beginning” between the United States and the Arab and Muslim world. He talked about erasing years of mistrust, finding common ground and relations based on mutual respect.

Political scientist Shorbagy says while the intentions of this speech were good, they may have inadvertently produced the opposite effect.

“What I think happened during the last couple of years is that the Obama speech in Cairo has actually heightened the expectations and none of the promises have materialized which actually made things worse,” she says.

The disappointment is reflected in a Gallup poll published in March that found that more than half of the Egyptians surveyed saw closer relations with Washington as a bad thing.

Mohamed, 20, a history teacher, says he has not seen any difference in how the U.S. deals with Arab dictators or the Palestinian issue since the Obama speech. No, he says, it is just talk and talk leads nowhere.

Part of this frustration may come from the $1.4 billion a year in military aid and the $250 million a year that the U.S. spends on economic and political programs here. Another Gallup survey found recently that only a quarter of Egyptians polled favor continuing that assistance.

Much of that aid money comes with conditions, and Egyptians like Mohamed Galal, taking a break in the mid-day heat to smoke a water pipe, resents that.

"You do not give me aid and then tell me to do this," says Galal. "You cannot control me."

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Citizen Eye
July 14, 2012 1:06 PM
A freely elected representative of people democratically elected is a dangerous thing to Ms. Clinton and her marketeer sponsors. Now she will be telling Morsi how he's supposed to act in regard to her recent bolstering of the Egyptian military.

by: Anonymous
July 14, 2012 9:46 AM
Clinton and the US Govt should cut $1.3 billion in aid to the Egyptian military unless the military and the Mubarak judiciary stop impeding the democratic process in Egypt. Reinstate the legislature . If America wants democracy in the Middle East, then the US Govt needs to act like it, instead of continuing to pursue Israel's security needs.
In Response

by: Karl from: Germany
July 15, 2012 10:53 AM
I hate to point out to you an obvious truth... Israel IS the USA... although Israel is far more Liberal and a whole lot more educated population than that of the USA, their affinity passion and orientation is uniquely American. AND they will protect American interests above all... I just hope it would have been Germany/Israel... but hope springs eternal...

by: Michael from: USA
July 14, 2012 9:07 AM
Madame Clinton and Monsieur Morsi could find one mutual interest between the USA and Egypt in the idea of political independence, if it is shown that independence in government is not always attached to a level of personal independence, as it might be more correct to show that bringing the subject of existence itself to bear on the more consistent reality found in mutual religious faiths (which are more lasting)

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs