John Kerry: Egypt appears to be on track toward democracy

Nov. 3, 2013 at 11:57 AM
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CAIRO, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Egyptian leaders Sunday and said afterward said Egypt appeared to be on the path toward democracy.

Kerry, making the highest-level U.S. visit to Egypt since the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, met with Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy and interim President Adly Mansour, as part of an effort to improve Egypt-U.S. relations, and urge Egyptian leaders to move ahead with democratic reforms, The New York Times reported.

Kerry reinforced comments he made in August about the Egyptian military leadership's attempt to restore democracy with the ouster of Morsi.

"Thus far, there are indications that that is what they are intending to do," he said. "The road map is being carried out to the best of our perception.

"There are questions we have here and there. I think it is important for all of us, until proven otherwise, to accept that this is the track that Egypt is on and to work to help it to be able to achieve that," he said during a joint news conference with his Egyptian counterpart.

The visit comes the day before Morsi is to be tried on charges of inciting the murder of protesters at the presidential palace in Cairo in December 2012. Morsi, who was thrown out of office and has been kept at an undisclosed location, is expected to challenge the authority of the court, The Guardian reported Sunday.

Morsi supporters held protests throughout Egypt this weekend and plan further demonstrations during the trial, and authorities have put police on a state of alert.

The Guardian said court officials had not decided by Sunday whether to televise the trial, or whether Morsi would attend.

"Because the Morsi trial happens to be the day after the secretary is going to be there, the secretary will be simply advocating to the government to ensure that all Egyptians are afforded due process, transparency and open trials," a senior State Department official said. "As you know, we've consistently called for the end to politicized arrests and detentions, and we'll continue to do that."

After leaving Cairo, Kerry will head to Riyadh for meetings with King Abdullah, and to Israel and Jordan to encourage peace talks throughout the region.

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