Kerry hints at Egypt visit as U.S. aid hangs in the balance

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hinted on Monday at a trip to Egypt in the coming weeks in what could be the first since the ouster of President Mohammad Mursi on July 3.

“I think we may be going to Cairo sometime in the next weeks. And one of the meetings that I insisted on having was that we make sure we meet with a cross-section of civil society,” Kerry said on the record at a closed press event, according to Agence France Presse.

State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki also alluded to America’s interest in Egypt.

“It's no secret that, clearly, we've gone through ups and downs in our relationship,” Psaki was quoted as saying by AFP. “But our focus is on our long-term security and strategic interests and that's what we keep our eye on.”

The United States on October 10 “recalibrated” its aid of $1.5 billion a year including $1.3 billion in military aid, following repression against Mursi supporters.

The United States halted the delivery of Apache helicopters, as well as Harpoon missiles and tank parts to Egypt's military leaders as part of the cut.

Washington's review of its military aid to Egypt, which includes parts for M1/A1 tanks, was not meant to be permanent. However, U.S. officials stressed this month, saying only the armaments were worth “hundreds of millions of dollars in assistance.”

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement in early October the decision would freeze “large-scale military systems and cash assistance to the government pending credible progress toward an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government through free and fair elections,” according to AFP.

The visit, if it takes place, would be a first to Egypt by Kerry since the ouster of President Mohammad Mursi by the military on July 3 amid massive protests against his year-long rule.

(With AFP)

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