Morsi, Kerry Hold Talks In Cairo on Ties, Regional Issues

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi held talks Sunday with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Cairo on bilateral relations and ways to boost Egypt’s ailing economy, official news agency MENA reported.

The meeting focused on developments of the economic situation in Egypt and ways to resolve the current economic crisis, besides topics of regional and international issues including the situation in Syria and the Middle East peace process.

Kerry, who wraps up his two-day trip to Cairo, has urged Saturday evening all Egyptian political leaders to reach consensus as an important step for resolving the country’s economic crisis.

“There must be willingness on all sides to make meaningful compromises on the issues that matter most to the Egyptian people,” Kerry told reporters Saturday after talks with Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr in Cairo.

“We do believe that in this moment of economic challenge, 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 added.

Kerry conveyed U.S. President Barack Obama’s support to Egypt and that the U.S. would like to enhance the country through “economic assistance, support for private businesses and growing Egyptian exports to us.”

“I emphasize again, as strongly as I can, we’re not here to interfere, I’m here to listen,” Kerry said.

Kerry also held talks Sunday with Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi when they discussed ways of enhancing military cooperation between the two countries and the capability of the armed forces to support peace and security in the region.

During their meeting, Kerry hailed the role of the Egyptian armed forces in maintaining security and stability in the country during such a critical period.

Kerry’s visit came amid Egyptian opposition’s calls for boycotting the upcoming parliamentary elections and other demands of some anti-government protesters for the armed forces to interfere in the country’s political life.