Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton landed here on Saturday to meet for the first time with the Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
State Department officials said on Saturday that Mrs. Clinton’s visit was meant to demonstrate American recognition of Egypt’s first democratically elected president. It will also continue the tentative mutual outreach between the Obama administration and the Muslim Brotherhood, the 84-year-old progenitor of Islamic political movements and historically a sharp critic of American policy in the region.
But Mrs. Clinton is arriving at a delicate moment, in the midst of the showdown between Mr. Morsi and Egypt’s top generals. The generals, who took over at the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, dissolved Parliament and tightened their grip on power on the eve of Mr. Morsi’s election, are digging in just at the moment that they had pledged to transfer control to civilians. And last week Mr. Morsi sought to assert his own authority as president by issuing a decree reinstating the legislature, starting a new skirmish in a struggle for power that is still playing out in the courts and the streets.