US Secretary of State John Kerry said his country is committed to working with Egypt’s interim rulers, on his first visit to Cairo since the military ousted President Mohamed Morsi.
“We are committed to work and we will continue our cooperation with the interim government,” Kerry told reporters in a joint news conference on Sunday, calling for “inclusive, free and fair elections.”
Kerry said he wanted to express to the Egyptian people “as clearly and as forcefully as I can in no uncertain terms, that the United States is a friend of the people of Egypt, of the country of Egypt, and we are a partner.”
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, who met Kerry earlier in the day, was present at the news conference and said: “I mentioned before that US-Egypt relations is going through turbulent time. Kerry’s comments today show positive signs.”
Apart from Kerry’s meeting with Fahmy, he was also expected to see Egypt’s Army chief, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as well as the interim president, Adly Mansour, and civic leaders.
Kerry also played down Washington’s suspension just weeks ago of part of its $1.5bn in annual aid to Cairo. “US-Egyptian relations should not be defined by assistance,” Kerry said.
The United States said on October 9 it would withhold deliveries of tanks, fighter aircraft, helicopters and missiles, as well as $260m in cash aid to Egypt, pending progress on democracy and human rights.