السبت , مايو 22 2021

Kerry in key talks with Egypt's Sisi

US Secretary of State John Kerry (left) and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri. Photo: 22 June 2014Mr Kerry has already met Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri

US Secretary of State John Kerry has arrived in Egypt for key talks with new President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.

Mr Kerry is expected to urge Mr Sisi to embrace more inclusive politics, and say the crackdown on the banned Muslim Brotherhood is polarising the nation.

Mr Kerry will raise the issue of the mass death sentencing of members of the organisation.

Mr Sisi, the 59-year-old ex-army chief, won elections in May, pledging to tackle “terrorism” and bring security.

The retired field marshal overthrew President Mohammed Morsi last July amid mass protests against his rule.

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We have a longstanding relationship… that’s built on several different pillars. It’s at a difficult juncture right now, that’s true”

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US state department official

He has since been pursuing a crackdown on Mr Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, which urged a boycott of the 26-28 May elections. Liberal and secular activists also shunned the poll in protest at the curtailing of civil rights.

Advice ignored

Mr Kerry arrived in Cairo on Sunday on an unannounced visit, the most senior US official there since the election.

American officials said he would tell Mr Sisi that although he understands the country’s security challenges, the Egyptian government needs to do more to reach out to the Muslim brotherhood, reports the BBC’s Kim Ghattas, who is travelling with Mr Kerry.

America’s top diplomat is also expected to call for the release of imprisoned journalists.

“We have a longstanding relationship… that’s built on several different pillars”, a senior state department official was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

“It’s at a difficult juncture right now, that’s true, and we have serious concerns about the political environment,” the official said.

Egypt remains a strategic ally for Washington, and Mr Kerry’s visit so soon after Mr Sisi’s inauguration shows the US is still keen to engage actively and early on with the new president in the hope it will make a difference, our correspondent says.

But she adds that the last time Mr Kerry was in Cairo in November his advice was ignored.

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Who is Egypt’s new president?

Abdul Fattah al-Sisi takes oath of office

  • Born in Cairo in 1954
  • Had long military career, latterly specialising mainly in military intelligence
  • Appointed army chief under Mohammed Morsi
  • Key figure in interim government after ousting Morsi in July 2013

Profile: Abdul Fattah al-Sisi

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