CAIRO — Secretary of State John F. Kerry released $250 million in badly needed economic assistance for Egypt on Sunday, telling the country’s divided political classes that they must make economic and political reforms to qualify for additional U.S. support.
“The United States can and wants to do more,” Kerry said in a statement released to reporters shortly after his more than two-hour session with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. About an hour of their time was spent one on one, in what U.S. officials said would be blunt discussions of Egypt’s tanking economy and political deadlock.
“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,” Kerry said. “These steps will also unlock much needed private-sector investment and broader financial assistance.”
The State Department said Kerry’s meeting with the Islamist leader also covered the crisis in Syria and prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace. The chaotic domestic situation in Egypt has overtaken the traditional American agenda with Egypt, long its most-valued Arab ally and the linchpin of Arab-Israeli peace.