Welcome to the 'new Egypt,' Mr. Secretary
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry disembarks from a plane upon arrival in Cairo, on March 2, 2013.
March 2nd, 2013
08:39 AM ET

Welcome to the 'new Egypt,' Mr. Secretary

By Jill Dougherty

Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Cairo at a critical stage as political divisions are preventing crucial economic reform.

In an intense 24-hours on the ground, Kerry has a packed schedule of meetings with Egypt's political and military leadership, business leaders and non-governmental organizations.

"It is very important to the new Egypt for there to be a firm economic foundation on which the new Egypt can operate. It will be important for the government to make an agreement with the [International Monetary Fund]," explains a senior State Department official who briefed reporters on Kerry's plane as he flew from Ankara, Turkey, to Cairo.

Egypt's ability to stabilize extends beyond its needs from the IMF, the official said. "It unlocks a lot of the other money that would come from the U.S., the EU, from the Arab states and also from private investment."

Necessary reforms 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 IMF money, the official says, "there has to be a basic political agreement among all of the various players in Egypt."

The Obama administration has been stressing to President Mohamed Morsy the importance of political consensus. But not only does Morsy need to build consensus, administration officials say, the various political leadership in Egypt needs to participate, as well.

Kerry, the official says, will not call on the opposition to renounce their boycott of upcoming elections, but he will make clear "If they want to engage, if they want to ensure that their views are taken into account, the only way to do that is to participate."

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    What we need is a Socialist Egypt which won't be dependent on Western economic aid and will rebuild itself with as little outside help as possible. That way they won't have to take orders from the West.

    March 2, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Reply
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