U.S. delegation to attend El-Sisi inauguration
The U.S. will send an official delegation to attend the inauguration of Egypt’s president-elect, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, in Cairo on Sunday, a U.S. diplomat said on Thursday.
U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said at a press conference that the delegation would be headed by Counselor Thomas Shannon.
Senior Advisor to the Secretary, David Throne, will also be part of the delegation, which will attend the inauguration on behalf of President Barack Obama.
"The United States looks forward to working with president-elect El-Sisi in Egypt and his government to advance our strategic partnership and many shared interests," said Harf.
El-Sisi, a former military chief, was declared the winner of last month’s presidential election on Tuesday, having won 96.91 percent of the votes cast.
In his role as head of the armed forces, El-Sisi led the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi last summer, after mass protests against the Islamist president.
Some foreign observation missions who monitored the election issued criticisms of the process.
At the press conference, a questioner asked Harf if she is "satisfied that Egypt is taking the steps towards democracy?"
"I don’t think I’d use the word ‘satisfied,’” she responded. “I think there’s more work to do."
She added saying that Egypt needs to continue its transition towards a stable, inclusive, and civilian-led democracy.
In April, Egypt's foreign minister, Nabil Fahmy, visited the U.S. to hold talks on mutual ties and regional issues. Fahmy`s visit came after that the U.S. stated it would deliver ten Apache attack helicopters to Egypt to help the government in counterterrorism operations in the Sinai Peninsula, easing a partial aid suspension following the ouster of Morsi and a violent crackdown on his supporters.
Washington also said in April that an additional $650 million in funding would be released upon congressional approval that Egypt is sustaining its strategic relationship with the U.S. and upholding its obligations under the Egypt-Israel peace treaty.
In response to a question about whether the U.S. will take part in the international conference that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has called for in order to aid the Egyptian economy, Harf said she did not have a specific answer as to the U.S.’s participation.
She did however stress that the U.S. has been working closely with Egypt and other partners in the region, including Saudi Arabia, to support the transition; and that they would continue to do so.
Harf also stressed that Egypt needs to reduce its dependence on foreign assistance.
"We don’t believe that foreign assistance alone can provide the kind of economic stability and the economic opportunities that really will help move Egypt’s economy forward in the most – advantageous to Egypt’s people," she added.