November 4, 2013 - 11:38 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - A day before Egypt's deposed Islamist president goes on trial, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday, November 3 expressed guarded optimism about a return to democracy in the country during a tour partly aimed at easing tensions with major Arab powers, according to Reuters.
On his first visit to Egypt since the army removed president Mohamed Morsi in July, Kerry called for fair, transparent trials for all citizens. However, he described Cairo as a vital partner to the United States and the region, as he tried to repair relations hurt by a partial freeze in U.S. aid.
Kerry said the relationship between the United States and Egypt should not be defined by aid but by a partnership, and promised to launch talks on a U.S.-Egypt strategic dialogue.
Senior State Department officials said Kerry did not raise Morsi's trial in his meetings with interim President Adly Mansour and army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the man who deposed Morsi.
Instead, he stressed that politically motivated and arbitrary arrests should be avoided and were unacceptable to the United States, according to the officials who briefed reporters.
"There was definitely no conscious decision not to raise it," one of the officials said.
Referring to his recent comment that the Egyptian generals were restoring democracy when they deposed Morsi after mass protests against his rule, Kerry said: "Thus far there are indications that this is what they are intending to do."
Relations between the United States and Egypt have deteriorated since Morsi's overthrow, which unleashed violence in which hundreds have died, even though the government has published a "road map" for an eventual return to democracy.
Kerry said the democratic roadmap was "being carried out to the best of our conceptions."
The State Department officials said during talks Kerry had stressed the importance sticking to the roadmap's timelines and that stability was essential to rebuild the economy.