News Analysis: Kerry Wraps Up Mediation Between Egyptian Political Forces

News Analysis: Kerry Wraps Up Mediation Between Egyptian Political Forces

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry wrapped up his two-day visit to Egypt on Sunday, during which he mediated between the country’s ruling Islamic forces and the opposition. Whether Kerry’s efforts would be fruitful, according to some analysts, depends on the Muslim Brotherhood’s willingness to make concessions to the opposition.

“It is clear that more hard work and compromise will be required to restore unity, political stability and economic health to Egypt,” Kerry said after meeting with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Sunday.

On Saturday, Kerry met with 10 Egyptian political figures and advised the opposition not to boycott the upcoming parliamentary elections.

During his meeting with Amr Moussa, leader of the opposition Conference Party and leading member of the opposition bloc the National Salvation Front (NSF), Kerry stressed the importance of stability and unity of the Egyptian people to pave the way for economic development.

Kerry said that each Egyptian group, opposition figure and nongovernmental organization that he had talked to is “vitally important” for the health and strength of a democratic system.

Some NSF leaders, including Mohamed ElBaradei and Hamdeen Sabahy, refused to meet with Kerry in protest against Washington’s attempts to press the Egyptian opposition to give up their decision of boycotting the parliamentary elections.

Claiming that the Egyptian regime has “lost its legitimacy,” former lawmaker Mohamed Abu Hamed insisted that “participation in the elections would mean supporting a regime that violates the law and the constitution.”

Yousry El-Azabawy, political analyst at Ahram Center for Strategic and Political studies, considered boycotting as a more useful tool for Egyptian opposition and predicted they would not respond to Kerry’s calls.

Samir Ghattas, chief of Maqdes Center for Political Studies, told Xinhua that Egypt’s opposition forces would not respond to U. S. mediation to participate in the upcoming elections, unless Morsi agrees to form an unbiased government to supervise the electoral process.

Manar El-Shorbagy, professor of political sciences at American University in Cairo, considered Kerry’s meeting with the Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi on Sunday as “obvious interference” in Egypt’s internal affairs. Kerry obviously wants to make sure that the Egyptian army would “stand at a distance” from all political forces, amid calls from liberals for the army to interfere in the political life, according to Azabawy.

The United States sees the Islamic regime as a good ally in resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, due to its good relations with both Hamas and Israel, said Azabawy.

During his visit, Kerry said the United States would give 250 million U.S. dollars aid to Egypt.

The aid was pledged after “Morsi’s assurance that he plans to complete the IMF process,” Kerry said in a statement, referring to a 4.8 billion dollars loan that Egypt is negotiating with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Nevertheless, to solve Egypt’s problems, “National dialogue is more important than the U.S. mediation for both the regime and the opposition forces,” Azabawy noted.