The US State Department officially confirmed yesterday that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Egypt and Israel this month, as part of an eight-country trip through Asia that began on Thursday.
Clinton will travel to Egypt in 10 days time, to express the United States’ support for Egypt’s democratic transition. Clinton is expected to arrive in Egypt on 15 July for a two-day visit. According to the State Department, she will follow her stop in Cairo with one in Jerusalem, on 16 to 17 July.
Clinton will be “meeting with the Israeli leadership to discuss peace efforts and a range of regional and bilateral issues of mutual concern,” A State Department statement said. Clinton was one of the first to note that prospects for peace talks had improved with the emergence of Israel’s unity coalition under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. However, with current rifts in the PM’s coalition relating to the drafting of ultra-Orthodox Jews to military and civilian service, it is currently unclear what direction the bilateral talks will take.
While in Egypt, Clinton will meet with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, thus becoming the first American diplomat to meet with the Muslim Brotherhood’s newly elected president. “Clinton will meet with senior government officials, civil society, and business leaders, and inaugurate the US Consulate General in Alexandria,” the State Department said. Clinton last visited Egypt in March 2011.
Today, in one of the first stops of her trip, Clinton will attend the “Friends of Syria” meeting in Paris, where she will consult with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on the margins of the forum.