In his first visit to Pakistan as secretary of state, John Kerry suggested the U.S. could soon end drone strikes there and described the military’s removal of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi as a restoration of democracy.
“The (drone) program will end as we have eliminated most of the threat and continue to eliminate it,” Kerry said Friday in an interview in Islamabad with Pakistan TV. “I think the president has a very real timeline and we hope it’s going to be very, very soon.”
Relations with Pakistan have been troubled ever since the U.S. killed Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani town. Kerry’s overtures to Islamabad were overshadowed by a reference to Egypt he also made on Pakistani TV:
“The military was asked to intervene by millions and millions of people, all of whom were afraid of a descendance into chaos, into violence. And the military did not take over, to the best of our judgement – so far. To run the country, there’s a civilian government. In effect, they were restoring democracy.”
The Obama administration has refrained from describing Mr Morsi’s removal as a “coup”. Were it to do so, the US government would be obligated to cut off its estimated $1.5 bn in annual aid to Egypt, the BBC notes.