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Egyptian leader looks abroad to win influence at home

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Image:Pyramids Egypt

CAIRO (Reuters) - An early diplomatic offensive by Egypt's new Islamist president makes it harder for an army-led establishment to portray him on the international stage as a threat to foreign powers.

At home though, it may do little to curb the influence of the generals and help Mursi assert himself as head of state.

Egypt's long-standing allies Saudi Arabia and the United States are unwilling to challenge the army's role as self-appointed protector of Egypt, which it uses to justify continued control over national security and a future constitution.

Mursi has the first real popular mandate in Egypt's history yet the army has kept the power to veto any law he passes after dissolving a parliament dominated by his allies in the Muslim Brotherhood, citing a court ruling.

In an apparent swipe at the Brotherhood during a visit to Egypt by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Egypt's top general, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, said the army would not allow a "specific group" to dominate Egypt.

Clinton urged a swift move to accountable government after meeting the new president and said the U.S. supported the army's return to a "purely national security role". Images of her chatting with Mursi were relayed widely on television.

But Clinton's visit also included meetings with women's representatives and Christian groups who fear their rights could be eroded if Islamists take full control via the ballot box.

She held a meeting with Tantawi that was more low-key than her earlier encounter with Mursi, but the order of ceremonies may say more about official protocol than any real change in the pecking order.

Article Credit:Allafrican News

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Updated 7 Years ago

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