Secretary of State urges democracy in Cairo
Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry went to Cairo recently with hopes to end violence in Egypt and install a fully democratic government during his six-hour visit, since the expulsion of former President Mohamed Morsi.
Going on trial Monday, President Morsi faces charges that include“inciting the killing of protesters outside the presidential palace in December 2012” and was removed from his presidential position in a military coup.
Yet since the ousting of former President Morsi, the United States suspended the delivery of “big-ticket items” in its military to aid to Egypt.
The Obama administration was deciding as to whether the U.S. should condemn the ouster as a coup and cut $1.3 billion in United States assistance however finally decided on suspending military aid in tanks, helicopters and fighter jets.
The U.S. is also currently withholding an estimate of $260 million in budget support to the government.
In addition, Egypt is also receiving billions of dollars in aid from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and “other wealthy Gulf Arab states.”
Yet the reactions to the United States aid suspension by Egyptian authorities were extremely angry and declared a “new low point in ties” that have been strained since February 2011 after the ousting of unseated authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak.
Foreign Minister of Egypt Nabil Fahmy also stated that last month “the U.S.-Egyptian relations were in turmoil” and also warned that the strain could affect “the entire Middle East.”
Although Kerry insisted that this was just merely a “reflection of U.S. law” on Sunday, he also attempted to defend his point by stating that assistance that did go directly to the Egyptian people had been continuously maintained.
Subsequently, an increase in Anti-American resentment has risen to “an all time high with people on both sides of the political divide angry with the United States.”
On Kerry’s six-hour trip, he met with interim leaders in current control of Egypt after the removal of Morsi in July — President Adly Mahmud Mansour, Prime Minister Hazem el Beblawi, Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy and army chief general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
“The United States believes that the U.S.-Egypt partnership is going to be stronger when Egypt is represented by an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government based on rule of law, fundamental freedoms and an open and competitive economy,” Kerry said to BBC news.
Interesting enough, for the first time in history of the alliance of Egypt, Kerry’s visit was not disclosed until landing in Egypt for unannounced security reasons.
However Kim Ghattas, the BBC state department correspondent, cited that “it is the kind of precaution that characterizes trips by United States officials to countries like Afghanistan and Iraq,” pointing to an obvious sign about the continued instability in Egypt as viewed by the U.S.
On the Secretary of State’s recent trip, Kerry’s Egyptian correspondent and counter part Fahmy now supported Kerry’s comment indicating that “we are all pursuing a resumption of normal relations” as he noted General Sisi’s “roadmap” after the coup setting out for constitutional reform and elections by Spring 2014.
This is the first stage of a tour that will take place over a time span of nine days and will include countries Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Algeria and Poland.
During the tour, Kerry is expected to discuss “defense and trade issues” with leaders in these regions, Syria being a hot spot discussion as well as the on going peace process in Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
There has also been recent expression of disappointment by the Saudi Arabia government on the United State’s hesitant approach in Syria and lack of support “for the new Egyptian government.”
Kerry is also expected to defend the recent allegations brought up by the United States spying scandals, despite the fact that last week he appeared to support these accusations by stating, “that spying by the United States National Security Agency may have gone too far.”