Sen. John Kerry Expected to Meet With Muslim Brotherhood Presidential Candidate (CNS) CYBERCAST NEWS SERVICE) By Patrick Goodenough 05/02/12)
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(CNSNews.com) – Three weeks before Egypt’s crucial presidential
election, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry will
meet in Cairo Wednesday with the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, whom
the Islamist party is confident will win, despite lagging in opinion
Mohammed Morsi will discuss “bilateral relations and recent
developments” with Kerry, according to an entry on the Web site of
the Brotherhood’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party
(FJP). U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson also reportedly will
“The visit comes in the context of the U.S. government’s concern over
Egypt’s democratic transition, witnessing the evolution of the
political scene in the transitional phase, becoming familiar with the
FJP’s presidential candidate and reviewing the Renaissance project,”
said Khaled Kazzaz, a party lawmaker and member of the parliament’s
foreign relations committee, who was part of a recent Muslim
Brotherhood delegation visiting Washington.
Kerry’s schedule during his two-day visit has not been made public,
and it was unclear whether he would meet any other presidential
Current opinion polls variously have Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, a
former Muslim Brotherhood leader, or Amr Moussa, a radical
nationalist and former foreign minister, in line to win, with Morsi
far behind. (Two polls released late last week differed widely, with
one finding 12 percent of respondents undecided and the other 50
But the Brotherhood’s organizational network and wide support base –
reflected in its parliamentary victories in late 2011 and early this
year – has the group confident that Morsi will win; the Muslim
Brotherhood’s Web site describes him as Egypt’s “most likely first
Morsi has questioned the appropriateness of non-Muslims or women
running for president, although his campaign seeks to soften his
image. The platform is entitled “Renaissance, the Will of the
People,” and not – Morsi stresses – the Brotherhood’s long-held
official slogan, “Islam is the solution.”
In a campaign speech in Cairo on Monday, Morsi declared that the
Muslim Brotherhood’s aim was to promote Egypt’s sovereignty and
respect among the nations.
“The days of subordination are over, and dawn of independence is upon
us,” he said. “We aim to create balanced international relations.
With Islamic reference and the vital energies of the Egyptian people,
the country will rise again and advance.”
Morsi met with Kerry last December in the Egyptian’s capacity as FJP
leader – the Brotherhood had at that stage not yet reversed its
earlier pledge not to field a presidential candidate, but a six-week
legislative election process was nearing an end and Morsi’s party
looked set to dominate parliament.
According to a Brotherhood statement at the time, Morsi had given
Kerry assurances on Muslim Brotherhood policies, saying for example
it was unlikely to make radical changes to the constitution or
national laws relating to investment, and indicating that
Egypt “respects” international treaties that it has signed. The fall
of the Mubarak regime prompted concerns about the future of the Egypt-
Israel peace agreement.
“John Kerry stated that he was not surprised at the progress and
leading position of the FJP on the electoral landscape in Egypt,
emphasizing his respect for the public will in Egypt,” the
Brotherhood statement said.
“Kerry welcomed the FJP vision and called on all Egyptian political
stakeholders and parties to work to urgently apply essential
mechanisms for the advancement of the economic situation to ensure
the survival of the democratic experience in Egypt.”
After the Kerry-Morsi talks in December, a leading Salafist
politician told reporters that the American’s meeting with the Muslim
Brotherhood was a “victory” for Islamists and a sign of their
“It also shows that the Americans know well the desires of the
Egyptian people,” said Hazem Salah Abou-Ismail, a Salafist cleric who
was himself a leading presidential contender until disqualified last
month by the country’s electoral commission.
Kerry did not issue a statement about the Dec. 2011 meeting with
Morsi, and a brief U.S. Embassy report said only that Kerry met with
members of the government and ruling military council and “several
political party leaders,” without identifying any of the latter.
The embassy statement said Kerry had during his various
meetings “reinforced the importance of the U.S.-Egypt relationship
and the impact of Egypt’s historic period of transition on the future
of the entire region. He also emphasized the need to focus on the
economy and to convey ‘a message of confidence to the world’ to
attract foreign investment and encourage tourists to return.”
Kerry’s visit to Cairo this week follows a visit to Israel, where he
met Tuesday with Shimon Peres, Israel’s ceremonial president, and
Afghanistan, where he had discussions with President Hamid Karzai in
Kabul on Saturday.
Kerry, the Democratic Party’s unsuccessful presidential candidate in
2004, was thought to be a strong contender for secretary of state in
2009 but President-elect Obama offered the post to Hillary Clinton.
With Clinton having repeatedly announced her intention to stand down
at the end of this term, speculation has again arisen about the
possibility Kerry may succeed her should Obama win in November.
(copyright 1998-2012 Cybercast News Service 05/02/12)
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