US State Department spokesperson for the Middle East Daniel Ernst held a closed meeting Monday with a number of Egyptian activists to talk about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit.
Ernst asserted that the US wants to hold dialogue with all Egyptian forces, not merely the winning party, and denied that there are secret deals between America and the Brotherhood, adding that US Senator John McCain meeting with Deputy Supreme Guide Khairat al-Shater was personal and not on behalf of the US government.
A number of other US officials attended the meeting along with television presenter Bassem Youssef, April 6 Youth Movement members Ahmed Maher and Mahmoud Afify, Free Egyptians Party member Rami Yakoub and a number of bloggers and former Muslim Brotherhood members.
Youssef reportedly asked jokingly if Sheikh Hazem Salah Abu Ismail’s mother was really an American, and the US officials responded that this was a private matter.
Maher told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the meeting participants criticized US policy during the Mubarak era and asked how the US would deal with President Mohamed Morsy.
Activist Esraa Abdel Fatah said that the attendees demanded that Washington commit to transparency and credibility in its relations with Egypt.
The meeting participants also discussed the bloodshed in Syria and the US stance on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remaining in power.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm