NBC News and Fox News both report that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Egypt last weekend to see just how much of a foothold democracy has gained. “President Obama and the American people support the people of Egypt,” he told reporters in Cairo. “We believe this is a vital relationship.”
Kerry’s visit comes coincidentally timed, as the shadow of Mohammed Morsi’s presidency was lifted via military coup this summer, and Morsi was scheduled to go on trial the day after Kerry arrived. The last time Kerry was in Egypt, he urged Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood-backed government to enact economic reforms and become a more inclusive administration. As public order declined, Egypt’s military deposed Morsi.
Kerry indicated that Egypt’s leaders have signaled a turn towards a democratic constitution and free elections, coinciding with a “road map” to stability that the White House drafted for the struggling nation.
“The road map is being carried out to the best of our perception, there are questions we have here or there about one thing or another, but foreign minister [Nabil] Fahmy has re-emphasized to me again and again that they have every intent, and they are determined, to fulfill that particular decision and that track,” Kerry said regarding Egypt’s progress to democracy.
Fox News notes that a tense rift between Cairo and Washington, D.C. is the likely cause for increased secrecy and security. The State Department didn’t even confirm Kerry was visiting Egypt until he was already on the ground in Cairo. Additionally, last summer’s regime change put the Obama administration in a difficult position: unsure of whether the $1.3 billion in military aid given to Egypt was still viable.
During his visit, Kerry was expected to meet with several key figures, including interim president Adly Mansour and military chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who led the coup against Morsi. Egypt is merely the first stop on the Secretary of State’s latest Middle East tour, during which he plans to visit Saudi Arabia, Poland, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria and Morocco.[Image via Wikimedia Commons]