Kerry touts need for 'meaningful compromises'
US Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed K. Amr on March 2, 2013 in Cairo
March 2nd, 2013
03:57 PM ET

Kerry touts need for 'meaningful compromises'

By Jill Dougherty and Joe Sterling

Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking to reporters in Egypt on Saturday, said "there must be a willingness on all sides" in Egypt to make "meaningful compromises on the issues that matter most to all of the Egyptian people."

And, Kerry said, Egyptians must stay focused on economic and political opportunities to succeed in forging a successful democracy. The United States wants to help all it can but not interfere in Egypt's affairs.

"We come here as friends," Kerry said - not as proponents of a particular group, person or ideology.

His Cairo visit - a stop on his first overseas trip since he became secretary - comes as Egypt has been engulfed in political unrest for months and ahead of parliamentary elections in April.

The Obama administration has been stressing to President Mohamed Morsy and other political figures the importance of political consensus, an elusive goal at present. Morsy, a longtime top figure in the Muslim Brotherhood before he became president, is unpopular among a large segment of the population.

Kerry met with Amre Moussa and Nabil El Araby, the former and current heads of the Arab League. He met with opposition leaders on Saturday, but state news said opposition figures Hamdeen Sabahy and Mohamed ElBaradei decided not to meet with Kerry. ElBaradei spoke with Kerry by phone, according to a senior State Department official.

Kerry put a positive foot forward in describing opposition politicians, praising their "extraordinary passion."

Speaking at a meeting with business leaders, Kerry said it is "paramount, essential, urgent that the Egyptian economy get stronger, that it get back on its feet."

Kerry said that there needs to be a sense of security and an agreement with the International Monetary Fund to help jump-start the economy.. He said he spoke with the leaders of Great Britain, France, Germany and Turkey and all want to be helpful "but all of them believe Egypt must make some fundamental economic choices."

Necessary reforms for Egypt include increasing tax revenue and reducing energy subsidies, U.S. officials say. But in order to carry out the kind of reforms required for getting International Monetary Fund money, the official says, "there has to be a basic political agreement among all of the various players in Egypt."

At his press conference, Kerry stressed "vibrant democracy" stimulates business and wide political participation. As for the issue of human rights, a major concern in Egypt, he said "the best way to ensure human rights" in the country is through the "broadest possible" political and economic participation.

Kerry said he will meet with representatives of non-governmental organizations, as well as Morsy on Sunday.

In his visit with Morsy, he will broach "very specific ways" in which Obama wants to help Egypt, including economic assistance, support for private business, increasing Egyptian exports to the United States and investing in education.

Kerry told reporters he appreciated Morsy's role in helping bring about a cease-fire between Israel and militants in Gaza in fighting there last year.

Before Kerry met with Foreign Ministry Mohamed Kamel Amr, a small protest broke out in Cairo.

Dozens of people in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs set on fire pictures of Kerry, according to the state-run MENA news outlet.

Other protesters laid on the ground at the front gate of the ministry. Some formed a human chain on a bridge leading to the ministry and held banners rejecting Kerry's visit to Egypt.

The demonstration caused congestion with many cars backed up on Corniche Nile Road. The protesters chanted anti-U.S. and anti-Israel slogans.

soundoff (23 Responses)
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  4. Goolam Begg

    I hope when Kerry goes to Saudi Arabia he actually insists the Saudi have democratic elections and give women their basic rights and dignity. Or is he going there only to secure oil. Very convenient to turn a blind eye to the human rights abuses happening there. Harshly condemn many countries but shut up about the GCC states. What a hypocritical government the USA is.

    March 4, 2013 at 5:00 am | Reply
  5. Cactus

    I find it laughable that the present administration suggests that the Egyptians need to find meaningful compromises while here at home the administration's idea of compromise is "my way or the highway". Anybody else see the hyprocrisy?

    March 3, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Reply
  6. George Patton-2

    What we need to do most of all is to stay out of Egypt's internal affairs and let the Egyptians sort it out themselves!

    March 3, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Reply
    • RetiredVet

      I actually agree with you on this one, leave Egypt alone to figure it out. The US doesn't need to give $250 MILLION in US taxpayer money to Egypt when the US economy is in the toilet.

      March 3, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Reply
      • Cactus

        It's just too bad that we couldn't have left them alone in the first place. We assisted the muslim brotherhood in overthrowing Mubarak and created a hell of a mess. We just can't seem to keep our nose out of things and we always end up with the dirty end of the stick.

        March 3, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
  7. Julia

    Reblogged this on Julia Clark and commented:
    Interesting:
    Especially the cowing attempt of the IMF for Egypt to make "fundamental economic choices." such as not putting a cap on loans across the board at 2%.
    Noted-

    Next is of interest to activist of all rank and diplomatic standing.

    Here is a bit of historical data:
    -quote
    Some comments that have been observed have been individuals
    claiming their not surprised while others are outraged. By this story
    being spread through the normal social media venues and #MAYDAY quickly
    approaching we could see some changes in the way Occupy decides to get
    the word out to their fellow protestors. EWT will continue to monitor
    for any developments regarding this story, or any suggestions of
    alternate means of communication regarding protest activities. Ends.
    -end quote

    That was puled from a conglomerate bank, it is part of, and I will quote: "internal reports and and emails assembled for Bank of America"

    Bank of America only abuses the name America., it is not of God fearing Americans.

    Read up on it for yourself.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank_of_America

    Below is pulled from the IMF Wikipedia page.

    Because of the high involvement and voting power of the United States, the global economic ideology could effectively be transformed to match the US's <<< read as corporatism, not the US people. The US people DO NOT get to vote on this action. As you can read the American people have been just as exploited, this cannot continue globally.

    Join the Culling Corruption Campaign.
    Getting mixed up with banks that have lost their moral compass will do harm to all of humanity.

    The cowing attempt is clear. Step away.

    March 3, 2013 at 1:24 am | Reply
  8. Julia

    Interesting:
    Especially the cowing attempt of the IMF for Egypt to make "fundamental economic choices." such as not putting a cap on loans across the board at 2%.
    Noted-

    Next is of interest to activist of all rank and diplomatic standing.

    Here is a bit of historical data:
    -quote
    Some comments that have been observed have been individuals
    claiming their not surprised while others are outraged. By this story
    being spread through the normal social media venues and #MAYDAY quickly
    approaching we could see some changes in the way Occupy decides to get
    the word out to their fellow protestors. EWT will continue to monitor
    for any developments regarding this story, or any suggestions of
    alternate means of communication regarding protest activities. Ends.
    -end quote

    That was puled from a conglomerate bank, it is part of, and I will quote: "internal reports and and emails assembled for Bank of America"

    Bank of America only abuses the name America., it is not of God fearing Americans.

    Read up on it for yourself.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank_of_America

    Below is pulled from the IMF Wikipedia page.

    Because of the high involvement and voting power of the United States, the global economic ideology could effectively be transformed to match the US's <<< read as corporatism, not the US people. The US people DO NOT get to vote on this action. As you can read the American people have been just as exploited, this cannot continue globally.

    Join the Culling Corruption Campaign.
    Getting mixed up with banks that have lost their moral compass will do harm to all of humanity.

    The cowing attempt is clear. Step away.

    March 3, 2013 at 1:20 am | Reply
  9. floridasboy

    Cut all aid to the rag heads.

    March 3, 2013 at 1:08 am | Reply
  10. helenecha

    Good job, Secretary Kerry! We’re the audience. Not only do we have the time to speak, but we have the time to hear as well. And by the way, Mohamed Morsy is the Egyptian President. Did his opposition figures usually receive some encouragement by his words like somebody has done?

    March 3, 2013 at 12:41 am | Reply
  11. gerich

    Arabs do not comprehend the word democracy. Give 'em to fight, that's what they know and that's what they do. That's why Mr. Kerry please do not give arms for Egypt's brotherhoods.

    March 2, 2013 at 11:50 pm | Reply
    • David

      Too late.....26 F 16's and 200 Abrams tanks......while sequester to eliminate thousands of jobs, if we believe Obama.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:13 am | Reply
  12. NOTUS

    Arab spring was a failure. Now the americans have understood you cannot really get democracy in the arab world. They are not capable of democracy.

    March 2, 2013 at 11:20 pm | Reply
  13. Sleeping OBAMA

    What a start... Kerry got snubbed.. ignored... and called Americans Stupid.

    Boggles the mind.

    March 2, 2013 at 11:04 pm | Reply
  14. Meki60

    how anyone can talk to a horse's face is beyond me.

    March 2, 2013 at 10:48 pm | Reply
    • disgustedvet

      A horsesasse also.

      March 2, 2013 at 11:01 pm | Reply
      • Meki60

        I agree

        March 2, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
  15. Justin

    "The Obama administration has been stressing to President Mohamed Morsy and other political figures the importance of political consensus, an elusive goal at present. Morsy, a longtime top figure in the Muslim Brotherhood before he became president, is unpopular among a large segment of the population."

    This sounds alot like Obama, and advice Kerry should give to him as well.

    March 2, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Reply
  16. C

    Egypt's reply. One A$sholle to another!

    March 2, 2013 at 10:04 pm | Reply
  17. helenecha

    Good job, Secretary Kerry! We’re the audience. Not only do we have the time to speak, but we have the time to hear as well.

    March 2, 2013 at 9:43 pm | Reply
    • Meki60

      get real. Kerry is a political throw-back

      March 2, 2013 at 10:53 pm | Reply

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