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Rice kicks off Mideast tour; visits Egypt

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reached Egypt as part of a five-day tour of the Middle East. The visit is aimed at boosting America's programme of democratisation in the region.

india Updated: Feb 21, 2006 18:24 IST

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reached Egypt on Tuesday as part of a five-day tour of the Middle East. The visit is aimed at boosting Washington's programme of democratisation in the region.

Rice and her delegation are expected to start a series of meetings with top officials.

The US diplomacy chief is scheduled to hold talks with Egypt's intelligence supremo Omar Suleiman, Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit and Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif on Tuesday.

Then she is expected to meet President Hosni Mubarak and members of Egypt's civil society on Wednesday before flying on to Riyadh.

Egypt is one of Washington's top allies in the troubled region and the second largest recipient of US aid in the world after Israel.

But relations between US and Egypt have been strained by recent political developments and Washington has repeatedly expressed its displeasure at the pace of democratic reforms in Egypt.

First Published: Feb 21, 2006 18:24 IST