CAIRO: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Cairo Tuesday for talks with her Arab counterparts. She started her regional tour in Saudi Arabia with an appeal for an end to Palestinian infighting. Rice flew in from Jeddah to join talks with foreign ministers from Egypt, Jordan and the six monarchies of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.
She also met with Egyptian security chief Omar Suleiman, a key negotiator on the Arab-Israeli issue. How do Egyptians perceive her visit? The Daily Star Egypt took to the streets to find out.
“Rice didn’t come to the region just to visit and show the world that she is active. I think she wouldn’t come unless she has a plan to discuss. Her meeting with the foreign ministers of the Gulf region proves this. I think she has something very important to talk about, but she wants to keep it subtle for the time being. Saleh, retired civil servant
“I don’t expect any good steps from the American side. They always take the Israeli side. I don’t know why we should host such Americans after all that happened in Lebanon and Iraq. Sanaa, housewife
“The Americans want the Arabs’ friendship now because of the Iranian nuclear project. They don’t need any more enemies in the region. They also want to see if they will receive logistic support from the Arab countries in the event that they launch a strike against Iran. I don’t think she wants to discuss the peace process, as there isn’t any peace anymore. Ayman, engineer
“The situation in the occupied territories is too frightening. The inner Palestinian conflict is too dangerous to the whole peace process. I believe that this will be the major topic of her talks in the region. She will almost definitely call Hamas the terrorists, and ask for peace as if the Americans are angels from heaven. Mohammed, student
“It causes hatred in Arab hearts. She is trying to attract some parties and ignore others. As for Egyptians, she should remember how Egyptians received her last year: with demonstrations! It s as if Mubarak is giving no consideration to the opinion of the opposition front in Egypt. Marwa, journalist
“We can’t say no to the Americans. It is a fact we can’t escape. They control us in all aspects. So she will tell Egypt to convince the rest of the Arab world of what she wants, just like what happened in the Lebanese war. Magda, housewife
“The American regime is now a war regime, so I am not convinced with the word peace coming from any American mouth. Bush started his presidency with the war in Afghanistan and Osama Bin Laden, then Iraq and Saddam Hussein – now what? Peace from the American side is a dream. Yasser, accountant
“Was Rice in Cairo? I didn’t know. We are in Ramadan. Between work and fasting I have no time to read a newspaper. And TV in Ramadan is full of things more interesting than Ms. Rice. Eman, physician