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

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid