US Secretary of State John Kerry has made an unscheduled visit to Egypt the day before deposed leader Mohamed Mursi’s trial is due to begin.
Kerry is the most senior American official to visit the country since elected President Mursi was overthrown by the military in July following mass street protests against his rule. Mursi’s critics accused him of trying to turn Egypt into an authoritarian, Islamist state.
Kerry brought with him a clear message that the US and Egypt are still close allies, saying “President Obama and the American people support the people of Egypt. We believe this is a vital relationship.”
In a meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, Kerry also said: “We support you in this tremendous transformation that you’re undergoing. We know it’s difficult. We want to help. We’re prepared to do so.”
The partnership between Washington and Cairo has been put to the test by the bloody unrest in Egypt.
Less than a month ago, the US reduced financial aid to the transition government in reaction to months of deadly clashes between the army and Mursi supporters.