Agence France Presse
Published — Monday 4 March 2013
Last update 4 March 2013 1:54 am
CAIRO: US Secretary of State John Kerry met the Egyptian president yesterday as he wraps up a trip to Cairo, where he urged divided factions to reach a consensus that would pave the way for economic recovery.
Before going into talks with President Muhammad Mursi, the US secretary of state met Army Chief Abdel-Fatah Al-Sisi.
Kerry flew in to Cairo from Turkey yesterday and urged a wide range of political and business leaders to reach a consensus, after months of political turmoil and unrest.
“There must be a willingness on all sides to make meaningful compromises on the issues that matter most to the Egyptian people,” Kerry told reporters after talks yesterday with Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr.
“We do believe that in this moment of economic challenge that it is important for the Egyptian people to come together around the economic choices and to find some common ground in making those choices,” he said. Kerry said discussed with Mursi ways in which the United States could help Egypt recover from its economic crisis.
“And I emphasize again, as strongly as I can, we’re not here to interfere, I’m here to listen,” Kerry said.
A State Department official traveling with Kerry told reporters that the secretary of state would also discuss anti-semitic remarks Mursi made before he was president and has since backtracked from.
But “the primary goal here is to encourage his — to encourage his work that he did with Israelis in getting the Gaza cease-fire,” he said, of an Egyptian-mediated truce that ended eight days of fighting in November between Israel and Hamas.
Meeting some of Egypt’s business leaders, Kerry stressed the importance of a $ 4.8-billion IMF loan, which is partly conditioned on a measure of agreement between the nation’s divided factions.