US Secretary of State John Kerry took his first journey to the Arab world since being sworn in. During his stop in Egypt, he pledged the US would aid Egypt with $190m of a pledged $450m in budget support and an additional $60m to set up a joint enterprise fund. He made this deal after meeting with Egyptian President Muhammed Morsi, who came to power in June as Egypt’s first freely elected president.
Kerry stated “The United States can and wants to do more…Reaching an agreement with the IMF will require further effort on the part of the Egyptian government and broad support for reform by all Egyptians. When Egypt takes the difficult steps to strengthen its economy and build political unity and justice, we will work with our Congress at home on additional support” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/03/kerry-releases-us-aid-egypt)
Protests continue in Egypt and Kerry’s visit added fuel to the fire with the opposition accusing him of supporting the “Muslim Brotherhood”, in which they believe Morsi is following in former President Hosni Mubarek’s footsteps in keeping a religiously conservative state as well as failing to address the country’s needs. In response to Kerry’s visit, one opposition group burned tires on the street blocking access to the airport, which then delayed Kerry’s flight for two hours. Another large protest broke out in front of the US Consulate in Alexandria, Egypt.
Kerry follows in former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who has met with Morsi several times, advising him and showing support of democracy. In November 2012, she called on Morsi to share power with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr.