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Cablegate: President's Condolence Visit to Egyptian Embassy

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS CAIRO 005753

SIPDIS

NEA/PD FOR FRANK FINVER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PGOV KPAO KMDR OPRC EG
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT'S CONDOLENCE VISIT TO EGYPTIAN EMBASSY
HITS TOP TV NEWS SLOT AND FRONT PAGES OF LOCAL PRESS;
SECRETARY RICE'S SIGNING GETS PROMINENT COVERAGE


SIPDIS

REF: CAIRO 5652

1. Summary: Egyptian state-run TV ran President Bush's
July 25 signing of the condolence book at the Egyptian
Embassy as the top news item, while local press made it the
main front-page story with a photo on July 26. Egyptian
press and TV also prominently carried Secretary Rice's July
26 signing of the condolence book and her remarks
expressing solidarity and support for Egypt. The
Information Minister and PA media contacts praised the
President and Secretary's gestures, which they said would
have a powerful impact and underline American-Egyptian
friendship in a time of crisis. End summary.

2. The Egyptian media gave extensive coverage to the July
25 visit of President Bush to the Egyptian Embassy in
Washington, during which he signed a condolence book in the
presence of the First Lady and Egyptian Ambassador to the
U.S. Nabil Fahmy. The front-page of leading pro-government
newspaper Al-Ahram printed a large photo of the President
signing the condolence book, flanked by the First Lady and
Ambassador Fahmy. A smaller front-page photo ran on pro-
government Al-Akhbar. The same image was replayed to
voiced-over coverage on Egyptian TV of the President's
visit throughout July 25, 26, and 27. Secretary Rice's
signing of the same condolence book on July 26 was also
given top-of-the-TV news coverage and prominent mention in
the pro-government press. FM Aboul Gheit was quoted in all
newspapers on July 27 as saying the visits were "big
support for Egypt in its war against terrorism." (Note:
This coverage was in addition to reporting on U.S. and
Embassy statements and condemnation and condolences
previously in the week (reftel). End note.)

3. In a conversation with the Charge, Information
Minister Anas El-Fekki praised the President's signing
of the condolence book as an excellent signal to the
Egyptian people. One PA contact, echoing the remarks of
several others, commented that the President's visit to
the Egyptian Embassy was "a positive public diplomacy
move." The contacts noted that having the First Lady
visit the Egyptian Embassy along with the President
enhanced the positive image the visit sent to Egyptians.
PA contacts also praised the U.S. for immediately
condemning the attacks and, especially, the President
and Secretary for their July 23 statements that the U.S.
would stand with Egypt. The new Editor-in-chief of
weekly magazine Al-Ahram Al-Arabi, Mohamed Abdel Atti,
suggested on July 26 that the visits to the Egyptian
Embassy would help to smooth over "recently tense
relations" between Egypt and the U.S.

JONES

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