Rice in Cairo for talks with Egyptian leaders
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Egypt on the first leg of a five-day tour of the Middle East aimed at bolstering Washington's program of democratisation in the region. Rice is set to meet on Tuesday with Egyptian Prime Minister Dr. Ahmad Nazif and Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Abul Gheit to discuss the state of the Middle East region and Hamas' victory in Palestinian elections in particular.
On Wednesday, Rice is scheduled to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to discuss the election of Hamas as well as conditions in Iraq, Sudan, and Iran, according to KUNA.
An Egyptian source maintained that Egypt would stress to Rice the importance of granting Hamas time to form the new Palestinian cabinet while refraining from penalizing the group in haste.
Dr. Majdi Radhi, spokesman of the Egyptian Cabinet, added that the talks will also cover bilateral relations between the US and Egypt as well as the reduction of US aid to latter, which he claimed would not harm Egypt's economy in light of growing investment in the country.
Rice will then continue to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as part of a broad mission to the Middle East.
© 2006 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)