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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora