, CAIRO, Jul 14 – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives in Cairo on Saturday for talks with new President Mohamed Morsi, amid a power struggle between the Islamist leader and the generals who ruled Egypt after Hosni Mubarak was ousted.
It will be Clinton’s second visit to the Arab world’s most populous nation since a popular uprising overthrew long-time US ally Hosni Mubarak last year.
Over two days, she will meet Morsi – a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood until he was sworn in last month – and other top officials, as well as civil society groups, the official MENA news agency reported.
Clinton steps into the political maelstrom of a complex power struggle between the president and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).
Last week, Morsi ordered parliament to convene, defying a military decision to disband the house after the country’s top court ruled it invalid.
Morsi’s decree was applauded by supporters who believed the court’s decision to disband parliament was political, but it set off a fire storm of criticism from opponents who accused him of overstepping his authority.
The origins of the battle for parliament lay in the constitutional declaration issued by the SCAF before the president was sworn in.
The declaration, which acts as a temporary constitution until a new one is drafted, granted the military sweeping powers, including legislative control, and rendered the presidential post little more than symbolic.
Morsi’s decision was seen as an opening shot in a power struggle between Egypt’s first civilian leader and the Mubarak-appointed generals who wanted to retain broad powers even after they transferred control on June 30.
But on Wednesday, Morsi said he would respect a court ruling overturning his decree, in an apparent bid to mollify an infuriated judiciary and the powerful military.
Earlier this week Clinton urged dialogue between all parties.
The Egyptian people should “get what they protested for and what they voted for, which is a fully elected government making the decisions for the country going forward”, she added.
“We strongly urge dialogue and a concerted effort on the part of all to try to deal with the problems, that are understandable but have to be resolved in order to avoid any kind of difficulties that could derail the transition,” she said.
Islamists scored a crushing victory in three-stage parliamentary elections held from November last year, with the Muslim Brotherhood heading the lower house.
The military dissolved parliament last month after the top court made its controversial ruling a day before the second round of the presidential poll that saw Morsi become Egypt’s first civilian and democratically elected head of state.
Clinton pledged: “The United States remains committed to working with Egypt, both government and civil society, to assist it in completing the democratic transition.”