McCain Says Economic Situation in Egypt Is ‘Very Serious’

U.S. Senator John McCain said in an interview that the economic situation in Egypt is “very serious” and he hopes the government can conclude a loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund “as soon as possible.”

McCain, speaking earlier at a press conference in Cairo, said that in the aftermath of the uprising against Hosni Mubarak the U.S. and Egypt had a chance to build “a truly strategic partnership.” The ability of the U.S. to maintain economic aid to Egypt “depends on the progress of democracy” in the country, he said.

The delegation of U.S. senators also expressed to President Mohamed Mursi their hopes for a resolution of a trial of non-government organization workers and their “serious concerns” about Sinai and the need for the Egyptian authorities to do more to improve security there, he told reporters. They also raised the issue of comments Mursi made several years ago that have raised controversy in recent days.

Mursi said today his reported remarks in 2010 about Jews were taken out of context of comments about Israeli actions directed at Palestinians in Gaza, the state-run Ahram Gate reported after his meeting with the delegation.

Mursi said he respects all religions and their followers, and there is a difference between Judaism and those who adhere to the faith and Israeli aggression against Palestinians, the website quoted his spokesman, Yasser Ali, as saying.

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