News / USA

Kerry Meets with Egyptian Officials, Opposition

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, speaks to the media with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Cairo, March 2, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, speaks to the media with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Cairo, March 2, 2013.
Edward Yeranian
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Egyptian government officials and some opposition politicians Saturday on his first visit to Cairo as the top U.S. diplomat. The visit to Egypt came during political turmoil in the run-up to controversial parliamentary elections, scheduled to begin in April.

Secretary Kerry told a press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr that he had come to support the Egyptian people and not to take sides in the country's politics.

“I've tried to make it clear, and I make it particularly clear now on behalf of President Obama and the American people that we come here as friends for the Egyptian people, not for one government or one person or one party or ideology, but for the Egyptian people," he said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, second from right, meets with members of Egyptian political parties including Ayman Nour, left, in Egypt, March 2, 2013.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, second from right, meets with members of Egyptian political parties including Ayman Nour, left, in Egypt, March 2, 2013.
x
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, second from right, meets with members of Egyptian political parties including Ayman Nour, left, in Egypt, March 2, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, second from right, meets with members of Egyptian political parties including Ayman Nour, left, in Egypt, March 2, 2013.
Kerry's visit as the new U.S. secretary of state was criticized by some Egyptian opposition leaders, many of whom accuse Washington of siding with Egypt's ruling Muslim Brotherhood group in the country's ongoing political tug-of-war.

Mohamed ElBaradei, who heads the opposition National Salvation Front, refused to meet with Kerry, as did two other top leaders, Hamdeen Sebahi and Sayed al Badawi. Other opposition figures, including Amr Moussa and Ayman Nour, did speak with the secretary.

Kerry said the United States would support Egyptians as they choose “their own path to follow.” He said the country's economic crisis requires all Egyptians to cooperate.

"We do believe that in this moment of serious economic challenge that it's important for the Egyptian people to come together around the economic choices and to find some common ground in making those choices," he said.

Arab media, quoting the Turkish Anadolu News Agency, reported that Secretary Kerry is trying to broker an agreement between Egypt's rival politicians to form a national unity government. Opposition leaders are demanding that President Morsi form such a government, in exchange for their participation in scheduled elections.

The head of Egypt's electoral commission told journalists Saturday that his office is working to prepare lists of judges and government employees to oversee the vote. He said that an eight-day window will begin next Saturday for candidates to register.

Kerry and Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr said they also discussed regional issues, including the conflict in Syria and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Kerry noted that he was holding several meetings with Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil and that he would speak with President Mohamed Morsi on Sunday.

Kerry's visit came amid scattered unrest in the country, as opposition protesters in Port Said set fire to a police station Saturday after a police vehicle struck several demonstrators. Egyptian media also reported several casualties following clashes in Mansoura overnight.

Veteran Egyptian editor and publisher Hisham Kassem argues that Kerry's visit is not likely to break Egypt's political logjam at a time when Egypt's political crisis is evolving quickly.

“There is nothing specific that he's going to be doing here except the meeting with the secretary general of the Arab League over Syria," he said. "But, most of the visit will be maybe to help him understand the situation that is not a permanent one and is likely to change in several weeks or so.”

Kassem also does not believe the U.S. is supporting the Islamists against the country's secular opposition, despite accusations by some opposition groups.

“There is no indicator that the Americans have supported the Islamists in any way. There is no cash that has been transferred. There is no American satellite that has cast a beam on Egyptians heads and made them vote [for the Islamists]," he said. "What can Americans do on the ground to help the Islamists win an electoral victory? Nothing.”

Kassem accuses the secularists of “making unfounded accusations” and playing “amateurish politics.” He argues that U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson “was worried as to be perceived to be supporting the [secularists], so she made a lot of effort to stay on good terms with the Islamists.”

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs