Speak to military, Hillary Clinton tells Mohammed Morsi
US SECRETARY of state Hillary Clinton met Egypt’s new Islamist president in Cairo yesterday and urged him to open talks with the military to break a political stalemate.
She met president Mohammed Morsi at the presidential palace in the first of a series of high-level meetings meant to stabilise Egypt’s transition to democracy and its alliance with the United States, which has become increasingly strained since the uprising last February that ousted president Hosni Mubarak.
Morsi and Clinton didn’t shake hands, at least publicly, and their initial greeting was the subject of speculation because of Morsi’s Muslim faith.
“Things change [at] kind of warped speed,” Clinton told Morsi. Speaking in English, Morsi said: “We are very, very keen to meet you and happy that you are here.”
Clinton’s itinerary also included sessions with the head of the military council, field marshal Hussein Tantawi, and the foreign minister, Mohamed Amr.
Morsi is in the middle of a showdown with the generals, who ruled Egypt for 16 months after Mubarak’s removal. They stripped the presidency of key responsibilities before allowing Morsi’s inauguration on 30 June, retaining far-reaching powers for themselves.
That move followed a decision last month by Egypt’s supreme constitutional court to dissolve the Islamist-dominated parliament, the first democratically elected in modern Egyptian history, after ruling that a third of its members were elected illegally.
Morsi has issued a decree to recall members of the parliament, most of whom are allies belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood.
In her discussions, Clinton was expected to stress the need for Egypt to adhere to its 1979 peace treaty with Israel, while also seeking continued counter-terrorism co-operation and offering US support to help Cairo regain control of the increasingly lawless Sinai peninsula – a security concern for Israel.
Clinton was due to visit the port city of Alexandria today to meet with women and young entrepreneurs, and then was expected to visit Israel.
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